The present study provides a systematic review of evidence on the effects of daily iron supplementation on anaemia and iron status, as well as on physical, psychological and neurocognitive health, in women of menstruating age (12 to 50 years).
The review included 67 randomized controlled and quasi-randomized controlled trials (from 76 reports), including 8506 women reporting primary or secondary outcomes of iron-deficiency anaemia. Trials compared a daily oral iron supplementation with or without a cointervention (folic acid or vitamin C) to a control or placebo.
Daily iron supplementation effectively reduces the prevalence of anaemia and iron deficiency, raises haemoglobin and iron stores, improves exercise performance and reduces symptomatic fatigue. These benefits come with the increased risk of digestive disturbances.