Benefits of iron supplementation for low birth weight infants

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Iron supplementation increases the levels of hematologic indicators of iron status and reduces the prevalence of Iron-deficiency Anemia /Iron Deficiency (IDA/ID) in low birth weight/premature infants. There is insufficient evidence to make a definitive statement regarding the effects of iron supplementation on growth, neurodevelopment, or the occurrence of adverse effects in low birth weight/premature infants.

Infants with low birth weight may be susceptible to Iron Deficient Anemia. Studies have been conducted to assess the effects of iron supplementation (IS) on premature and infants with low birth weight. This paper reviewed such studies in order to examine the effects of IS on hematologic iron status, growth, neurodevelopment and the adverse effects IS may have.  Fifteen studies were reviewed, study quality was assessed using the Delphi list for quality assessment of randomized clinical trials. The review found a significant increase in hematologic iron status using IS, compared to a placebo. A decrease in prevalence of IDA was found with IS. No significant effect of IS on growth nor neurodevelopment was found. No consistently observed adverse effects of IS were found.

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