Daily iron, folic acid supplementation alleviates anaemia in adolescent girls

05 Dec 2021
Daily iron, folic acid supplementation alleviates anaemia in adolescent girls

Ninety-day supplementation of iron and folic acid (IFA) with or without vitamin B12 results in a reduction in iron and vitamin B12 deficiency and a decrease in the overall proportion of anaemia, reveals a study in India. However, adding vitamin B12 to IFA supplementation does not contribute to the improvement of haemoglobin levels among adolescent girls.

“The prevalence of anaemia has remained high among Indian adolescent girls over the past decade despite the ongoing IFA supplementation programme,” the authors said.

In 2018, a community-based cluster-randomized trial was carried out in the rural block of Faridabad District, Haryana, India. The authors selected a total of 760 adolescent girls aged 12–19 years with mild and moderate anaemia from government schools.

Daily, supervised administration of IFA was conducted for 90 days: experimental group (iron 60 mg, folic acid 500 mcg, and cyanocobalamin 1,000 mcg); control group (IFA and placebo). Haemoglobin, serum ferritin, and vitamin B12 levels were measured at baseline and follow-up.

Of the participants, 200 completed 90 doses of daily supplementation. Both groups demonstrated an increase in mean haemoglobin (experimental group: 1.3 g/dL; control group: 1.6 g/dL; p=0.004) and ferritin levels (experimental group: 18.6 ng/mL; control group: 18.8 ng/mL; p=0.188).

Serum vitamin B12 deficiency significantly decreased to 2.5 percent in the experimental group, while ferritin deficiency was resolved in >96 precent of the girls following intervention.

“The present study does not recommend provision of vitamin B12 for prevention and treatment of anaemia in this population group,” the authors said.

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