Iron deficiency in teenaged girls linked with decline in IQ score

August 8, 2000 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Iron deficiency in teenaged girls linked with decline in IQ score

Itís known that high levels of fat in the blood contribute to a postmenopausal woman's risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada studied a group of postmenopausal women either receiving or not receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In the well controlled study, 35 postmenopausal women, half receiving HRT, were assigned to receive 8 capsules per day of either an omega-3 fatty acid enriched fish oil supplement or a dummy pill. At the end of the one-month study, the omega-3 fatty acid supplement had lowered serum triglycerides (a type of blood fat implicated in heart disease risk) by an average of 26% and reduced the overall ratio of triglyceride to HDL by 28%. However, triglyceride lowering was less prominent in women on hormone therapy, 19%, compared to women not taking hormones, 36%.

A UK study of 595 teenaged girls found a significant correlation between low hemoglobin levels and poor cognitive function. According to the study, a very small drop in iron levels caused a fall in IQ. The study group surveyed girls, aged 11 to 18 years who were attending three comprehensive schools in North London. The researchers found a significant difference in IQ between iron-deficient anemic girls and iron-deficient and iron-replete girls. Although the study examined only adolescent girls, there is also some evidence that people over 65 suffer from lack of iron and cognitive function [deficits], but this is also linked to deficiencies of folic acid, zinc and vitamin B12.

For more information on the role that iron plays in brain function and how to get enough in the diet, see " Iron and IQ", ONTVís News at Noon interview on Tuesday August 8th. Click on "Leslie in the Media".

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.