Life Extension Final Clerance Sale

Life Extension Update

Iron supplementation reduces fatigue in premenopausal women

Iron supplementation reduces fatigue in premenopausal women

Friday, July 13, 2012. The results of a trial described online on July 9 in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) reveal a significant benefit for iron supplements in iron-deficient (but nonanemic) premenopausal women who experienced fatigue. Reduced iron levels are common among women of childbearing age; however, consuming too much iron increases free radical damage, which has been linked to a number of diseases.

Dr Bernard Favrat of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine at the University of Lausanne and his associates enrolled 198 women aged 18 to 53 for the current double-blinded, randomized trial. Participants were limited to those who had deficient serum ferritin levels of less than 50 micrograms per liter and hemoglobin levels above 12 grams per deciliter. Subjects were divided to receive oral prolonged-release ferrous sulfate containing 80 milligrams elemental iron or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Fatigue was evaluated at the beginning and end of the study, and blood samples were analyzed for hemoglobin, ferritin and other factors at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks.

Hemoglobin, ferritin, and other factors increased after 6 weeks among women who received iron and continued to be improved at 12 weeks, in contrast with the placebo group, for whom some values declined by the end of the study. "We found that iron supplementation for 12 weeks decreased fatigue by almost 59% from baseline, a significant difference of 19% compared with placebo, in menstruating iron-deficient nonanemic women with unexplained fatigue and ferritin levels below 50 micrograms per liter," the authors report.

"Iron deficiency may be an under-recognized cause of fatigue in women of child-bearing age," they write. "If fatigue is not due to secondary causes, the identification of iron deficiency as a potential cause may prevent inappropriate attribution of symptoms to putative emotional causes or life stressors, thereby reducing the unnecessary use of health care resources, including inappropriate pharmacologic treatments."

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What's Hot Highlight

American ginseng combats cancer-related fatigue

What's Hot

A study reported this week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting held in Chicago reveals the finding of Mayo Clinic researchers that high doses of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) help reduce some of the fatigue experienced by up to 90 percent of men and women with cancer.

In a study funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Debra Barton, PhD of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and her associates administered capsules containing 2,000 milligrams American ginseng or a placebo in divided doses daily for two months to 340 patients who were undergoing or had recently completed treatment for cancer. Sixty percent of the participants were breast cancer patients.

Although little improvement was seen at four weeks, those who received ginseng had less general and physical fatigue than the placebo group by the end of the study. No difference in self-reported side effects was observed between the two groups.

"After eight weeks, we saw a 20-point improvement in fatigue in cancer patients, measured on a 100-point, standardized fatigue scale," Dr Barton remarked.

Compounds in ginseng known as ginsenosides help regulate cortisol (a hormone released during stress) and reduce cytokines involved in inflammation. Future research conducted by Dr Barton will examine the effect of ginseng on fatigue-related biomarkers.

"Cancer is a prolonged chronic stress experience and the effects can last ten years beyond diagnosis and treatment," Dr Barton remarked. "If we can help the body be better modulated throughout treatment with the use of ginseng, we may be able to prevent severe long-term fatigue."

Final Clearance Sale of the Year

Final Clearance Sale of the Year

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†These supplements should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary.

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