Iron pills may help women beat fatigue
Published: 4th Jun 2012 20:39:43
Prescribing iron supplements may help some women with fatigue even if they are not officially anaemic, Swiss researchers suggest.
A severe shortage of iron is the most common cause of anaemia resulting in lethargy, weakness and feeling faint.
A study of 198 women, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, showed iron pills may also help those with moderately low iron levels too.
Taking too much iron, however, can be dangerous.
The researchers looked at reproductive age women, between 18 and 53, as menstruation is known to lower iron levels.
They said unexplained fatigue was a common problem in doctors' surgeries, but it was as yet unknown whether iron supplements could help these women.
Nearly 200 women reporting fatigue, with no medical explanation, took part in the study. Half were given 80mg oral iron tablets every day, while half were given sugar pills.
Medical "fatigue scores" were recorded before treatment and after 12 weeks of taking the medication.
One of the researchers, Dr Bernard Favrat from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, said: "We found that iron supplementation for 12 weeks decreased fatigue [scores] by 50%.
"Iron deficiency may be an under-recognised cause of fatigue in women of child-bearing age.
"For women with unexplained, prolonged fatigue, iron deficiency should be considered."
Rick Miller, a spokesman for the British Dietetic Association, warned that taking too much iron could result in major organ failure.
He said: "First and foremost, fatigue is multifactorial - it's never just one root cause or micronutrient."
He said fatigue was not fully understood and other factors such as exercise, diet and sleep patterns played a role.
However, he added: "I think the study has some validity, but taking everything into consideration is key."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Iron pills may help women beat fatigue [Online] (Updated 4th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1432744/Iron-pills-may-help-women-beat-fatigue [Accessed 9th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com