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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Iron nutriture in elderly individuals.

The purpose of this review is to examine current research on the iron status of the elderly and factors that influence the body burden of iron. Studies of noninstitutionalized elderly individuals report mean iron intakes that meet current Recommended Dietary Allowances for iron. Dietary practices that may decrease iron bioavailability, and hence iron stores in the body, include low intakes of ascorbic acid or high intakes of calcium, and decreased consumption of highly available iron from meat, fish, and poultry. Although not well documented, the effect of age on iron absorption and iron excretion appears to be small, and body stores of iron increase with age. It is difficult to estimate the prevalence of iron deficiency in elderly persons, because impaired iron status can be the result of iron deficiency or chronic disease. Further study is necessary to determine whether red blood cell ferritin and serum transferrin receptors may be useful biochemical markers to differentiate the anemia of chronic disease from iron deficiency anemia. Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disease that greatly increases the body burden of iron and the risk of hepatic disease among homozygotes. Because iron deficiency or iron excess may impair health, the role of iron in diseases associated with aging such as depressed immune response, neurological dysfunction, cancer, and heart disease is discussed.[1]


  1. Iron nutriture in elderly individuals. Johnson, M.A., Fischer, J.G., Bowman, B.A., Gunter, E.W. FASEB J. (1994) [Pubmed]
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