Factors affecting iron stores in French female students.Hum Nutr Clin Nutr. 1985 Jul; 39(4):279-87.HN
Serum ferritin and haematological variables were determined in 476 healthy French students (21.3 +/- 0.2 years). Information was collected on the duration of menses and contraceptive uses. Dietary intakes were assessed by the dietary history method in a randomized subsample of 157 women. The proportion of anaemic subjects was low, but 16 per cent of women had exhausted iron stores (serum ferritin less than or equal to 12 micrograms/l). Duration of menses was negatively correlated with serum ferritin concentration. The mean iron intake was 10.92 +/- 0.02 mg/d. Only fewer than 5 per cent of the students had daily iron intakes corresponding to the recommended dietary allowances for menstruating women (greater than or equal to 16 mg/d). There was a positive correlation between energy consumption and iron intake (r = 0.79, P less than 10(-9)). Tea and dairy products intakes appeared to have a significant negative correlation with serum ferritin. The positive correlation between serum ferritin and haemoglobin suggests that decreased or depleted iron stores are associated with suboptimal haemoglobin values. This raises the problem of the definition of normal serum ferritin and haemoglobin values in menstruating women.