Micronutrient Status in Female University Students

Iron, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Vitamin B-12 and Folate

Flavia Fayet-Moore, Peter Petocz, Samir Samman*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)
    54 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Young women are at an increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly due to higher micronutrient requirements during childbearing years and multiple food group avoidances. The objective of this study was to investigate biomarkers of particular micronutrients in apparently healthy young women. Female students (n = 308; age range 18-35 year; Body Mass Index 21.5 ± 2.8 kg/m2; mean ± SD) were recruited to participate in a cross-sectional study. Blood samples were obtained from participants in the fasted state and analysed for biomarkers of iron status, vitamin B12, folate, homocysteine, selenium, zinc, and copper. The results show iron deficiency anaemia, unspecified anaemia, and hypoferritinemia in 3%, 7% and 33.9% of participants, respectively. Low vitamin B12 concentrations (<120 pmol/L) were found in 11.3% of participants, while 4.7% showed sub-clinical deficiency based on serum methylmalonic acid concentrations >0.34 μmol/L. Folate concentrations below the reference range were observed in 1.7% (serum) or 1% (erythrocytes) of participants, and 99.7% of the participant had erythrocyte-folate concentrations >300 nmol/L. Serum zinc concentrations <10.7 μmol/L were observed in 2% of participants. Serum copper and selenium concentrations were below the reference range in 23% and 11% of participants, respectively. Micronutrient deficiencies including iron and vitamin B12, and apparent excess of folate are present in educated Australian female students of childbearing age, including those studying nutrition. The effects of dietary behaviours and food choices on markers of micronutrient status require further investigation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5103-5116
    Number of pages14
    JournalNutrients
    Volume6
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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