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Plant foods may offer solution to iron deficiency

Category: Anemia and RBC disorders

Many people in the U.S. have received blood test results indicating they have iron deficiency, but a new study from researchers at Children's Hospital Oakland may point to a simple way to solve this nutritional problem.

The researchers showed that the body is capable of absorbing larger molecules containing iron than previously thought. This means that the iron present in many vegetables and legumes may be sufficient for reversing an iron deficiency.

Currently, the only remedies for iron deficiency are supplementation and meat consumption. These may work in the U.S., but are less effective in other parts of the world where fresh meat and supplements are less accessible.

"Our study shows that this different mechanism of iron absorption from plant ferritin is more efficient and gives the intestinal cells more control. It can be a new way to help solve global iron deficiency," said Elizabeth Theil, who led the investigation.

Consuming plant foods to increase iron consumption may have benefits over the use of supplements for those in the U.S. as well, as these nutritional aids can cause uncomfortable gas and bloating.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800690537-ADNFCR

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