A study involving 676 children (7-9) in rural Nepal has found that those whose mothers received iron, folic acid and vitamin A supplementation during their pregnancies and for three months after the birth performed better on some measures of intellectual and motor functioning compared to offspring of mothers who received vitamin A alone. However, there was no significant benefit for those whose mothers received iron, folic acid and zinc (plus vitamin A), or multiple micronutrients.
A negative effect of adding zinc is consistent with other research indicating that zinc inhibits iron absorption. Interestingly, new “ground-breaking” research demonstrates further the complexity of iron’s effects on the body. The researcher argues that many neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s) are partly caused by poorly bound iron, and it is vital to consume nutrients which bind iron and prevent the production of the toxins it will otherwise produce.
Such nutrients include brightly-colored fruits (especially purple) and vegetables, and green tea.
It’s also argued that Vitamin C is only beneficial if iron is safely bound, and if it’s not, excess Vitamin C might be harmful.
(Submitted). Prenatal Micronutrient Supplementation and Intellectual and Motor Function in Early School-aged Children in Nepal.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 304(24), 2716 - 2723.
(2010). Towards a unifying, systems biology understanding of large-scale cellular death and destruction caused by poorly liganded iron: Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, prions, bactericides, chemical toxicology and others as examples.
Archives of Toxicology. 84(11), 825 - 889.