Statistics show about 10 percent of women in their mid-20s and about 25 percent of pregnant women are iron-deficient. Women with poor memory skills are also often iron deficient. According to researchers iron supplements may reverse memory loss in these women.
Researchers studied nearly 150 women between ages 18 and 35. The women were either anemic, iron deficient, or iron sufficient. During initial cognitive testing, women who were iron deficient (but not anemic) completed tasks in the same amount of time as those with normal levels of iron, but they performed significantly worse. Anemic women also performed significantly worse and took even longer than the iron deficient women did. Researchers say they found that, the more anemic a woman was, the longer it took her to complete the tasks.
However, after the iron-deficient and anemic women took 60 milligrams of iron for four months, their scores significantly improved. The women who took iron supplements also completed the tasks in less time than they did prior to taking the supplements. Researchers say women who took the supplements significantly improved their attention, learning skills, and both short-term and long-term memory.
Researchers say these results are important because they show even modest levels of iron deficiency have a negative impact on cognitive functioning in young women. They say this is the first study to show how iron supplements can reverse memory loss in younger women.