Iron Supplements Fight Fatigue

Some women with unexplained fatigue may get a bit more pep from iron supplements – even if they do not have full-blown anemia, a new clinical trial suggests.


The study focused on women who were chronically tired and had relatively low iron stores. They did not, however, have full-blown iron-deficiency anemia, in which the body has too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells.


It has not been clear whether iron supplements can help battle fatigue in non-anemic women.


To find out, Swiss researchers randomly assigned 200 women with unexplained fatigue to take either 80 milligrams of iron a day or a placebo (identical-looking pills with no active ingredient.)


Over 12 weeks, both groups improved. But women on iron supplements fared better, the researchers report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.


On average, scores on a standard measure of fatigue fell by nearly half – from about 25 to 13, on a scale of zero to 40 – among women getting the extra iron.


That compared with a 29 percent decline in fatigue reported by the placebo group, whose average score fell from about 25 to just over 16.

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