Iron Metabolism, Malaria, and Other Infections: What Is All the Fuss About?


Prentice, AM; (2008) Iron Metabolism, Malaria, and Other Infections: What Is All the Fuss About? The Journal of nutrition, 138 (12). pp. 2537-2541. ISSN 0022-3166 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.108.098806

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Abstract

This article briefly describes how iron lies at the center of a host-pathogen battle for nutrients and why there are many theoretical reasons to suspect that administration of supplemental iron might predispose to infection. This is supported by in vitro and small animal studies, but meta-analysis of human epidemiological and intervention studies has found little evidence for most disease outcomes. Supplemental iron does appear to increase susceptibility to malaria as measured by a variety of malariometric indices. However, even in malarious areas, iron appears beneficial in iron-deficient subjects. The concerns about iron supplementation programs for children seem to be confined to Sub-Saharan Africa and to areas of high malaria endemicity, where it will be necessary to adopt a cautious approach to supplementation based either on screening out iron-replete children or combining iron administration with effective disease-control strategies.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 19022986
Web of Science ID: 261038300040
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/6653

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