Iron status biomarkers in iron deficient women consuming oily fish versus red meat diet.J Physiol Biochem. 2009 Jun; 65(2):165-74.JP
Specific recommendations for anemic individuals consist in increasing red meat intake, but the population at large is advised to reduce consumption of red meat and increase that of fish, in order to prevent the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This study aimed to determine the effects of consuming an oily fish compared to a red meat diet on iron status in women with low iron stores. The study was designed attending the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement guidelines. It was a randomised crossover dietary intervention study of two 8-week periods. Twenty-five young women with low iron stores completed the study. Two diets containing a total of 8 portions of fish, meat and poultry per week were designed differing only in their oily fish or red meat content (5 portions per week). At the beginning and the end of each period blood samples were taken and hemoglobin, hematocrit, serum ferritin, serum iron, serum transferrin, serum transferrin receptor-2 and the Zn-protoporphyrin/free-protoporphyrin ratio were determined. Food intake and body weight were monitored. During the oily fish diet, PUFA intake was significantly higher (p=0.010) and iron intake lower (mean+/-SD, 11.5+/-3.4 mg/day vs. 13.9+/-0.1 mg/day, p=0.008), both diets providing lower mean daily iron intake than recommended for menstruating women. Although there were no significant differences after 16 weeks, serum ferritin moderately decreased and soluble transferrin receptor increased with the oily fish, while changes with the red meat diet were the opposite. In conclusion, an oily fish diet compared to a red meat diet does not decrease iron status after 8 weeks in iron deficient women.