Effects of iron supplementation and discontinuation on serum copper, zinc, calcium, and magnesium levels in women.Med Sci Sports Exerc 1993; 25(5):562-71MS
The purpose of this study was: 1) to establish the prevalence of depleted iron stores, iron deficiency, and low serum levels for copper, zinc, calcium, and magnesium in a healthy female population; and 2) to examine the effects of iron supplementation and discontinuation on the serum levels of the above minerals. One hundred eleven healthy women between the ages of 18 and 40 yr reported for fasted morning blood sampling for iron, copper, zinc, calcium, and magnesium status. Forty-five subjects were either iron-deficient as defined by a hemoglobin level below 120 g.l-1 (four subjects) or iron deplete as defined by a serum ferritin value below 20 micrograms.l-1 (43 subjects). Two subjects fit both criteria. This subgroup continued with the study and were prescribed a normal therapeutic iron dose (320 mg elemental iron per day, taken as two Slow-Fe tablets.d-1 for a period of 12 wk). The subjects then discontinued the iron supplementation for a further 12 wk. The response of the various blood minerals was monitored at 6-wk intervals. Twenty-five subjects completed the full 24-wk treatment. The main conclusions to be made from this study were that: 1) For this sample population of women, iron depletion was quite common (39%), although low hemoglobin values (< 120 g.l-1) were only seen in 3.6%. No subjects fell below the criteria for low serum copper levels (< 13.3 mumol.l-1) nor low serum magnesium levels (< 0.6 mmol.l-1). Seven subjects (6.5%) fell below the criteria for low serum zinc levels (< 11.5 mumol.l-1) while two subjects (1.8%) were below the criteria for low serum calcium levels (< 2.20 mmol.l-1). 2) Therapeutic oral iron supplementation was successful in raising mean serum ferritin values from 15.9 micrograms.l-1 to 36.5 micrograms.l-1 but was not associated with decrements in serum copper or calcium levels. 3) The treatment did not significantly effect serum zinc and magnesium levels during the supplementation period, but a downward trend continued through the discontinuation phase so that at 18 and 24 wk serum zinc and magnesium levels were significantly lower than baseline. 4) Oral contraceptive use was associated with elevated serum copper and ferritin values and lowered serum magnesium levels.