New results tackle anaemia, one of the world’s greatest health challenges

dfs-teaThe Journal of Nutrition has published promising results of an exciting study that provides further evidence of the potential for salt that is fortified with iodine and iron, known as double-fortified salt, to reduce iron deficiency.

The study, which was funded by the Micronutrient Initiative and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, researched the impact of double fortified salt on anemia and iron levels, productivity, and cognitive function among women.

The researchers worked with 212 Indian women employed as full time tea pickers on a large tea estate. Half were randomly assigned to receive double fortified salt (DFS), and the other half iodized salt. The first publication shows that there is significant improvement in anaemia and iron status of women using DFS.

dfs-tea-2Iron deficiency is the single most common nutritional disorder in the world, with those most affected being women living in developing countries. It is a major cause of anaemia. An estimated 30% of non-pregnant women are already anaemic, which becomes even more serious during and after pregnancy.

DFS is just one of MI’s solutions to improving nutrition in the world’s most vulnerable. MI began working with the University of Toronto in the early 1990s to undertake fortifying iodized salt with iron, with the biggest challenge overcome in just a few years: ensuring that iron and iodine can “live” together, safely and effectively.

Salt has been the vehicle for one of the world’s most successful public health campaigns: universal salt iodisation program. Iodized salt helps ensure people have enough iodine in their bodies to eliminate preventable brain impairments due to iodine deficiency, such as cretinism, something Canadians have not had to think about in close to 100 years.

The Journal of Nutrition, in publication since 1928, is ranked in the top three among peer-reviewed research journals and receives more than 2.5 million hits per month.

The study was in collaboration between Cornell University, McGill University, University of Oklahoma, Pennsylvania State University, the Mathile Institute and the Micronutrient Initiative.

These results were also presented by Dr. Jere Haas, the Cornell University Nancy Schlegel Meinig Professor of Maternal and Child Nutrition, at the 2014 Micronutrient Forum Global Conference.

You can read more about the study here: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/144/6/957.long