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Weight Loss and Iron Status
Iron Intake and Energy Intake During Weight Loss in Obese Patients
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Changes in Iron Status During Weight Loss

For several decades, very-low-energy diets (VLEDs) have been used by obese individuals to achieve weight loss. During the weight loss, patients often have dramatic drops in circulating thyroid hormone concentrations and experience cold intolerance. Because poor iron status is known to alter thermogenesis, we investigated the possibility that iron intake interacts with energy intake during weight loss in obese individuals. The effects on indicators of iron and thyroid status of increasing the iron content of a very-low-energy diet from 18 to 27 mg/d during 12 wk of a very-low-energy diet were compared with the effects on the same indicators of increasing energy intake from 1752 kJ(420 kcal) to 3347 kJ(800 kcal)/d. Although all very-low-energy diet groups initially had 30 percent declines in plasma transferrin saturation, increases in plasma ferritin concentrations, and decreases in plasma thyroid hormone concentrations, patients who received iron supplementation had significantly higher circulating concentrations of triiodothyronine and thyroxine at the end of the very-low-energy diet than did patients who received only the recommended dietary allowance of iron. The patients who received iron supplementation also had a more rapid return of iron indicators to normal values over the course of the very-low-energy diet. The transitory fall in iron delivery to bone marrow was not associated with anemia. These data suggest that higher thyroid hormone concentrations can be maintained during very-low-energy diets that provide higher iron intakes.

Source: Beard J, Borel M, Peterson FJ. Nutrition Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16803, USA.

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