Wednesday, 21 April 2004

Iron tablets can improve women's brainpower

The brainpower of young women who are lacking in iron can be markedly boosted by taking supplements of the mineral, suggests a new study.

Even women who were just modestly iron deficient did much worse on attention, memory and learning tests than those with enough iron in their blood, found the study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University in the US.

"The iron deficient women took longer to do tasks and were less successful," says John Beard, one of the team. For those classified as anemic the difference was particularly stark, he says: "The number of errors in a memory task was double than in the iron sufficient group."...

However, he cautions that women of Anglo-Saxon origins should not rush to take iron supplements without proper medical examination. This is because about one in 20 people of Anglo-Saxon origin carry a gene for "iron overload" or heredity haemochromatosis.

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