Nutritional iron deficiency (ID) is caused by an intake of dietary iron insufficient to cover physiological iron requirements. Studies on iron absorption from whole diets have examined relationships between dietary iron bioavailability/absorption, iron losses, and amounts of stored iron. New insights have been obtained into regulation of iron absorption and expected rates of changes of iron stores or hemoglobin iron deficits when bioavailability or iron content of the diet has been modified and when losses of iron occur. Negative effects of ID are probably related to age, up to about 20 years, explaining some of earlier controversies. Difficulties in establishing the prevalence of mild ID are outlined. The degree of underestimation of the prevalence of mild ID when using multiple diagnostic criteria is discussed. It is suggested that current low-energy lifestyles are a common denominator for the current high prevalence not only of ID but also of obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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