Publications by authors named "Crystal D Karakochuk"

49 Publications

Iron-Containing Oral Contraceptives and Their Effect on Hemoglobin and Biomarkers of Iron Status: A Narrative Review.

Nutrients 2021 Jul 9;13(7). Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Oral contraceptive use has been associated with decreased menstrual blood losses; thus, can independently reduce the risk of anemia and iron deficiency in women. Manufacturers have recently started to include supplemental iron in the non-hormonal placebo tablets of some contraceptives. The aims of this narrative review are: (i) to describe the relationship between oral contraceptive use and both anemia and iron status in women; (ii) to describe the current formulations of iron-containing oral contraceptives (ICOC) available on the market; and (iii) to systematically review the existing literature on the effect of ICOC on biomarkers of anemia and iron status in women. We discovered 21 brands of ICOC, most commonly including 25 mg elemental iron as ferrous fumarate, for seven days, per monthly tablet package. Our search identified one randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of ICOC use compared to two non-ICOC on increasing hemoglobin (Hb) and iron status biomarker concentrations in women; whereafter 12 months of contraception use, there were no significant differences in Hb concentration nor markers of iron status between the groups. ICOC has the potential to be a cost-effective solution to address both family planning needs and iron deficiency anemia. Yet, more rigorous trials evaluating the effectiveness of ICOC on improving markers of anemia and iron deficiency, as well as investigating the safety of its consumption among iron-replete populations, are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13072340DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8308850PMC
July 2021

Daily Oral Supplementation with 60 mg of Elemental Iron for 12 Weeks Alters Blood Mitochondrial DNA Content, but Not Leukocyte Telomere Length in Cambodian Women.

Nutrients 2021 May 31;13(6). Epub 2021 May 31.

Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

There is limited evidence regarding the potential risk of untargeted iron supplementation, especially among individuals who are iron-replete or have genetic hemoglobinopathies. Excess iron exposure can increase the production of reactive oxygen species, which can lead to cellular damage. We evaluated the effect of daily oral supplementation on relative leukocyte telomere length (rLTL) and blood mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content in non-pregnant Cambodian women (18-45 years) who received 60 mg of elemental iron as ferrous sulfate ( = 190) or a placebo ( = 186) for 12 weeks. Buffy coat rLTL and mtDNA content were quantified by monochrome multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Generalized linear mixed-effects models were used to predict the absolute and percent change in rLTL and mtDNA content after 12 weeks. Iron supplementation was not associated with an absolute or percent change in rLTL after 12 weeks compared with placebo (ß-coefficient: -0.04 [95% CI: -0.16, 0.08]; 0.50 and ß-coefficient: -0.96 [95% CI: -2.69, 0.77]; 0.28, respectively). However, iron supplementation was associated with a smaller absolute and percent increase in mtDNA content after 12 weeks compared with placebo (ß-coefficient: -11 [95% CI: -20, -2]; = 0.02 and ß-coefficient: -11 [95% CI: -20, -1]; = 0.02, respectively). Thus, daily oral iron supplementation for 12 weeks was associated with altered mitochondrial homeostasis in our study sample. More research is needed to understand the risk of iron exposure and the biological consequences of altered mitochondrial homeostasis in order to inform the safety of the current global supplementation policy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13061877DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8227094PMC
May 2021

Baseline Hemoglobin, Hepcidin, Ferritin, and Total Body Iron Stores are Equally Strong Diagnostic Predictors of a Hemoglobin Response to 12 Weeks of Daily Iron Supplementation in Cambodian Women.

J Nutr 2021 Aug;151(8):2255-2263

BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada.

Background: The WHO recommends daily iron supplementation for all women in areas where the population-level anemia prevalence is ≥40%, despite the fact that hemoglobin (Hb) concentration is generally considered to be a poor prognostic indicator of iron status.

Objectives: In this secondary analysis, we investigated the predictive power of ten baseline hematological biomarkers towards a 12-week Hb response to iron supplementation.

Methods: Data were obtained from a randomized controlled trial of daily iron supplementation in 407 nonpregnant Cambodian women (18-45 years) who received 60 mg elemental iron as ferrous sulfate for 12 weeks. Ten baseline biomarkers were included: Hb, measured with both a hematology analyzer and a HemoCue; inflammation-adjusted ferritin; soluble transferrin receptor; reticulocyte Hb; hepcidin; mean corpuscular volume; inflammation-adjusted total body iron stores (TBIS); total iron binding capacity; and transferrin saturation. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves from fitted logistic regression models were used to make discrimination comparisons and variable selection methods were used to construct a multibiomarker prognostic model.

Results: Only 25% (n = 95/383) of women who completed the trial experienced a 12-week Hb response ≥10 g/L. The strongest univariate predictors of a Hb response were Hb as measured with a hematology analyzer, inflammation-adjusted ferritin, hepcidin, and inflammation-adjusted TBIS (AUCROC = 0.81, 0.83, 0.82, and 0.82, respectively), and the optimal cutoffs to identify women who were likely to experience a Hb response were 117 g/L, 17.3 μg/L, 1.98 nmol/L, and 1.95 mg/kg, respectively. Hb as measured with a hematology analyzer, inflammation-adjusted ferritin, and hepcidin had the best combined predictive ability (AUCROC=0.86). Hb measured with the HemoCue had poor discrimination ability (AUCROC = 0.65).

Conclusions: Baseline Hb as measured with a hematology analyzer was as strong a predictor of Hb response to iron supplementation as inflammation-adjusted ferritin, hepcidin, and inflammation-adjusted TBIS. This is positive given that the WHO currently uses the population-level anemia prevalence to guide recommendations for untargeted iron supplementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8349118PMC
August 2021

The Inclusion of Folic Acid in Weekly Iron-Folic Acid Supplements Confers no Additional Benefit on Anemia Reduction in Nonpregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Malaysia.

J Nutr 2021 Aug;151(8):2264-2270

Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Weekly iron-folic acid (IFA) supplements are recommended for all menstruating women in countries where anemia prevalence is ≥20%; however, it is unknown whether the inclusion of folic acid in weekly IFA supplements reduces anemia.

Objectives: We examined whether the inclusion of folic acid in weekly IFA supplements conferred any benefit on hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, anemia reduction, or iron status [ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR)], over iron alone.

Methods: In this secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial in Malaysia, n = 311 nonpregnant women (18-45 y old) received 60 mg Fe with either 0, 0.4, or 2.8 mg folic acid once-weekly for 16 wk. Fasting blood was collected at baseline and 16 wk. A generalized linear model (normal distribution with identity link) was used to assess Hb concentration at 16 wk (primary outcome).

Results: At baseline, 84% of women had low folate status (plasma folate < 14 nmol/L). At 16 wk, marginal mean (95% CI) Hb was 131 (130, 133), 131 (129, 132), and 132 (130, 133) g/L; ferritin was 58.2 (53.9, 62.5), 56.5 (52.2, 60.9), and 58.0 (53.7, 62.3) μg/L; and sTfR was 5.8 (5.5, 6.1), 5.8 (5.5, 6.1), and 5.9 (5.6, 6.2) mg/L in the 0, 0.4, and 2.8 mg/wk groups, respectively, with no differences between groups (P > 0.05). Baseline plasma folate concentration did not modify the effect of treatment on Hb concentration at 16 wk. Among all women, the risks of anemia [risk ratio (RR): 0.65; 95% CI: 0.45, 0.96; P = 0.03] and iron deficiency based on ferritin (RR: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.20, 0.44; P < 0.001) were lower at 16 wk than at baseline.

Conclusions: Despite the low folate status among these nonpregnant Malaysian women, the inclusion of folic acid in weekly IFA supplements did not reduce anemia or improve iron status, over iron alone. However, the benefits of folic acid for neural tube defect prevention still warrant its retention in weekly IFA supplements.This trial was registered at www.anzctr.org.au as ACTRN12619000818134.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab115DOI Listing
August 2021

Detectable Unmetabolized Folic Acid and Elevated Folate Concentrations in Folic Acid-Supplemented Canadian Children With Sickle Cell Disease.

Front Nutr 2021 21;8:642306. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Food, Nutrition, and Health, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited hemoglobinopathy caused by a variant (rs344) in the gene encoding the β-globin subunit of hemoglobin. Chronic hemolytic anemia and increased erythropoiesis and RBC turnover in individuals with SCD can result in increased needs for folate and other B-vitamins. We assessed B-vitamin status, and the distribution of folate forms, including unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA), in Canadian children with SCD supplemented with 1 mg/d folic acid (current routine practice). Non-fasted serum and plasma samples were analyzed for concentrations of folate, and vitamins B-2, B-6, and B-12. Eleven individuals (45% male; SCD type: HbSS = 8, HbSC = 2, HbSβ-Thal = 1), with a median (IQR) age of 14 (7, 18) years, were included. Total folate concentrations were 3-27 times above the deficiency cut-off (10 nmol/L), and 64% of children had elevated folate levels (>45.3 nmol/L). UMFA (>0.23 nmol/L) was detected in all children, and 36% of participants had elevated levels of UMFA (>5.4 nmol/L). All children were vitamin B-12 sufficient (>150 pmol/L), and the majority (55%) had sufficient B-6 status (>30 nmol/L). Among this sample of Canadian children with SCD, there was limited evidence of B-vitamin deficiencies, but UMFA was detectable in all children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2021.642306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096995PMC
April 2021

Anemia Prevalence and Anthropometric Status of Indigenous Women and Young Children in Rural Botswana: The San People.

Nutrients 2021 Mar 28;13(4). Epub 2021 Mar 28.

BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4, Canada.

In Botswana, there is limited data available on the health and nutritional status of the San People (also known as the Basarwa or Bushmen), an Indigenous minority group primarily living in the Ghanzi District. Our aim in this study was to assess anemia prevalence among and anthropometric indices of women and young children in Ghanzi District through a cross-sectional survey. We recruited 367 mother-child pairs (women 15-49 years and children 6-59 months) in nine randomly selected areas. A capillary blood sample was collected, and weight and height were measured. Hemoglobin (Hb) concentration was measured with use of a hemoglobinometer (HemoCue, AB), as per global recommendations. Overall, adjusted anemia prevalence was 12% in non-pregnant women (Hb < 120 g/L), 26% in pregnant women (Hb < 110 g/L), and 42% in children (Hb < 110 g/L), but it varied widely depending on whether or not the controversial factor of ethnicity was adjusted for (range of 6-26%, 22-30%, and 35-68% prevalence, respectively). Thirty-nine percent ( = 133/344) of non-pregnant women and 52% ( = 12/23) of pregnant women were underweight (BMI < 18.5 kg/m). In children aged 6-23 months, 41% were underweight (weight-for-age -score < -2 SD), 13% were wasted (weight-for-height -score < -2 SD), and 65% were stunted (height-for-age -score < -2 SD); in children aged 24-59 months, 57% were underweight, 13% were wasted, and 66% were stunted. Fifty-six percent ( = 205/367) of women self-reported smoking in any form (rolled cigarettes or snuffing). The high prevalence of smoking among women, underweight status among pregnant women, and anemia, stunting, and wasting among children is of the highest concern for public health and should be addressed in future health and nutrition programming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13041105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066262PMC
March 2021

Malaria is a cause of iron deficiency in African children.

Nat Med 2021 04 22;27(4):653-658. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Malaria and iron deficiency (ID) are common and interrelated public health problems in African children. Observational data suggest that interrupting malaria transmission reduces the prevalence of ID. To test the hypothesis that malaria might cause ID, we used sickle cell trait (HbAS, rs334 ), a genetic variant that confers specific protection against malaria, as an instrumental variable in Mendelian randomization analyses. HbAS was associated with a 30% reduction in ID among children living in malaria-endemic countries in Africa (n = 7,453), but not among individuals living in malaria-free areas (n = 3,818). Genetically predicted malaria risk was associated with an odds ratio of 2.65 for ID per unit increase in the log incidence rate of malaria. This suggests that an intervention that halves the risk of malaria episodes would reduce the prevalence of ID in African children by 49%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01238-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610676PMC
April 2021

Can Automated Hematology Analyzers Predict the Presence of a Genetic Hemoglobinopathy? An Analysis of Hematological Biomarkers in Cambodian Women.

Diagnostics (Basel) 2021 Feb 3;11(2). Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Food, Nutrition and Health, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Genetic hemoglobinopathies are the most common single-gene disorder worldwide. Some automated hematology analyzers have the capability of flagging individuals who may have hematological disorders based on complete blood count (CBC) biomarkers. We aimed to evaluate the accuracy of a hematology analyzer in identifying genetic hemoglobinopathies in Cambodian women and to determine which hematological biomarkers are the best predictors. A CBC was completed using a Sysmex XN-1000 analyzer and hemoglobinopathies were determined with capillary hemoglobin electrophoresis for 808 nonpregnant Cambodian women. Sysmex XN-1000 Interpretive Program (IP) messages, which flag potential hematological disorders, were produced from CBC results. Then, 2 × 2 tables were used to determine sensitivity and specificity of the IP message "Hemoglobin defect" to detect a genetic hemoglobinopathy. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses assessed the diagnostic ability of six CBC biomarkers to predict a genetic hemoglobinopathy. In total, 74% of women had a hemoglobinopathy (predominantly Hb E and α-thalassemia). "Hb defect" IP message sensitivity and specificity for genetic hemoglobinopathy detection were 10.4% and 98.6%, respectively. Variable selection strategies yielded a two-variable model including mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and red blood cell (RBC) count (AIC = 99.83, AUC = 0.98 (95% CI: 0.97, 0.99)) for the prediction of a homozygous EE disorder. Sensitivity and specificity values do not justify the use of Sysmex XN-1000 IP flag messages for identification of genetic hemoglobinopathies in Cambodian women. Development of an algorithm based on MCV and RBC biomarkers may optimize the screening ability of automated hematology analyzers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11020228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7913495PMC
February 2021

Perspective: Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFAS): A Critical Review and Rationale for Inclusion in the Essential Medicines List to Accelerate Anemia and Neural Tube Defects Reduction.

Adv Nutr 2021 03;12(2):334-342

Global Technical Services, Nutrition International, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Weekly iron and folic acid supplementation (WIFAS) is among the 8 key effective actions for improving adolescent nutrition included by the WHO in the 2018 guidelines. However, at present WIFAS in the WHO-recommended formulation is not included in the Model Essential Medicines List (MEML), limiting the potential for countries to import, produce, and prioritize this formulation as part of their national supply management and procurement plans for medicines. The WHO WIFAS guideline presents evidence that the formulation reduces anemia, but not that folic acid reduces neural tube defects (NTDs), because sufficient evidence was unavailable at the time of the last review. Recently, a 3-arm, parallel-group, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled folic acid efficacy trial on WIFAS was conducted to address this evidence gap. The study population included 331 women (18-45 y old), randomly assigned to 3 treatment groups, including a supplement with 60 mg Fe as ferrous fumarate and either 0 mg, 0.4 mg, or 2.8 mg of folic acid, to be consumed once weekly for 16 wk, followed by a 4-wk washout period. In this article we critically review how the outcomes of this folic acid efficacy trial, and how the evidence generated, could potentially be used to inform WHO WIFAS guidelines for the potential inclusion of this formulation on the MEML, and how this, in turn, may affect product availability. If the new evidence on weekly folic acid is assessed as adequately reducing the risk of NTDs, a guideline revision could be warranted and WIFAS could be presented to the MEML for the dual benefits of anemia reduction and NTD prevention. This inclusion could enable acceleration of implementing policies and programs to contribute to global anemia and NTD reduction efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009743PMC
March 2021

Weekly iron-folic acid supplements containing 2.8 mg folic acid are associated with a lower risk of neural tube defects than the current practice of 0.4 mg: a randomised controlled trial in Malaysia.

BMJ Glob Health 2020 12;5(12)

SAHMRI Women and Kids, South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Introduction: Weekly iron-folic acid (IFA) supplements are recommended for all menstruating women in countries where anaemia prevalence is >20%. Anaemia caused by folate deficiency is low worldwide, and the need to include folic acid is in question. Including folic acid might reduce the risk of a neural tube defect (NTD) should a woman become pregnant. Most weekly supplements contain 0.4 mg folic acid; however, WHO recommends 2.8 mg because it is seven times the daily dose effective in reducing NTDs. There is a reluctance to switch to supplements containing 2.8 mg of folic acid because of a lack of evidence that this dose would prevent NTDs. Our aim was to investigate the effect of two doses of folic acid, compared with placebo, on red blood cell (RBC) folate, a biomarker of NTD risk.

Methods: We conducted a three-arm double-blind efficacy trial in Malaysia. Non-pregnant women (n=331) were randomised to receive 60 mg iron and either 0, 0.4, or 2.8 mg folic acid once weekly for 16 weeks.

Results: At 16 weeks, women receiving 0.4 mg and 2.8 mg folic acid per week had a higher mean RBC folate than those receiving 0 mg (mean difference (95% CI) 84 (54 to 113) and 355 (316 to 394) nmol/L, respectively). Women receiving 2.8 mg folic acid had a 271 (234 to 309) nmol/L greater mean RBC folate than those receiving 0.4 mg. Moreover, women in the 2.8 mg group were seven times (RR 7.3, 95% CI 3.9 to 13.7; p<0.0001) more likely to achieve an RBC folate >748 nmol/L, a concentration associated with a low risk of NTD, compared with the 0.4 mg group.

Conclusion: Weekly IFA supplements containing 2.8 mg folic acid increases RBC folate more than those containing 0.4 mg. Increased availability and access to the 2.8 mg formulation is needed.

Trail Registration Number: This trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN12619000818134).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003897DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7716666PMC
December 2020

Regression to the Mean: A Statistical Phenomenon of Worthy Consideration in Anemia Research.

Curr Dev Nutr 2020 Oct 24;4(10):nzaa152. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Food, Nutrition, and Health, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Regression to the mean (RTM) is a statistical phenomenon where second measurements are more likely to be closer to the mean. This is particularly observed in those with baseline values further from the mean. Anemic individuals (hemoglobin <120 g/L) are often recruited when evaluating iron supplementation programs, as they are more likely to elicit a greater hemoglobin response; however, they are also at greater risk for RTM as their baseline values are lower than the overall population mean.

Objective: The aim was to calculate and apply RTM to a previously conducted iron supplementation trial of women in Cambodia at increasingly severe baseline anemia cutoffs (hemoglobin <120 g/L, <115 g/L, and <110 g/L).

Methods: Women received either 60 mg/d iron (= 191) or placebo (= 185) for 12 wk. Hemoglobin was measured at baseline and at 12 wk (endline), and change in hemoglobin was calculated in each group for each cutoff. RTM was calculated in the placebo group at each cutoff and applied to the change observed at each cutoff in the iron group to obtain the RTM-free effect.

Results: In the placebo group, mean change in hemoglobin increased as cutoffs became more extreme (0.9 g/L to 1.9 g/L in those with baseline hemoglobin <120 g/L and <110 g/L, respectively). RTM estimates similarly increased: 1.0 g/L (<120 g/L), 1.3 g/L (<115 g/L), and 1.8 g/L (<110g/L). When applying RTM to the iron group, we found that ∼10% of the "treatment effect" could be attributable to RTM at each cutoff. However, iron supplementation was still effective in increasing hemoglobin, with an increased effect in those with lower baseline values, as proven by the RTM-free effect at each cutoff: 8.7 g/L (<120 g/L), 10.9 g/L (<115 g/L), and 13.6g/L (<110 g/L).

Conclusions: RTM may have accounted for ∼10% of the observed change in hemoglobin following iron supplementation; however, appropriate use of a placebo group in the statistical analyses of the trial controls for this potential RTM effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzaa152DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596246PMC
October 2020

Variability in haemoglobin concentration by measurement tool and blood source: an analysis from seven countries.

J Clin Pathol 2020 Oct 6. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

USAID Advancing Nutrition, John Snow Inc. Research and Training Institute, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Objective: We explore factors such as the blood sampling site (capillary vs venous), the equipment (HemoCue vs automated haematology analyser) and the model of the HemoCue device (201+ vs 301) that may impact haemoglobin measurements in capillary and venous blood.

Methods: Eleven studies were identified, and bias, concordance and measures of diagnostic performance were assessed within each study.

Findings: Our analysis included 11 studies from seven countries (Cambodia, India, The Gambia, Ghana, Laos, Rwanda and USA). Samples came from children, men, non-pregnant women and pregnant women. Mean bias ranged from -8.7 to 2.5 g/L in Cambodian women, 6.2 g/L in Laotian children, 2.4 g/L in Ghanaian women, 0.8 g/L in Gambian children 6-23 months and 1.4 g/L in Rwandan children 6-59 months when comparing capillary blood on a HemoCue to venous blood on a haematology analyser. Bias was 8.3 g/L in Indian non-pregnant women and 2.6 g/L in Laotian children and women and 1.5 g/L in the US population when comparing capillary to venous blood using a HemoCue. For venous blood measured on the HemoCue compared with the automated haematology analyser, bias was 5.3 g/L in Gambian pregnant women 18-45 years and 11.3 g/L in Laotian children 6-59 months.

Conclusion: Our analysis found large variability in haemoglobin concentration measured on capillary or venous blood and using HemoCue Hb 201+ or Hb 301 or automated haematology analyser. We cannot ascertain whether the variation is due to differences in the equipment, differences in capillary and venous blood, or factors affecting blood collection techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jclinpath-2020-206717DOI Listing
October 2020

Is untargeted iron supplementation harmful when iron deficiency is not the major cause of anaemia? Study protocol for a double-blind, randomised controlled trial among non-pregnant Cambodian women.

BMJ Open 2020 08 16;10(8):e037232. Epub 2020 Aug 16.

Department of Food, Nutrition and Health, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Introduction: The WHO recommends daily oral iron supplementation for 12 weeks in women and adolescents where anaemia prevalence is greater than 40%. However, if iron deficiency is not a major cause of anaemia, then, at best, untargeted iron supplementation is a waste of resources; at worst, it could cause harm. Further, different forms of iron with varying bioavailability may present greater risks of harm.

Methods And Analysis: A 12-week three-arm, double-blind, randomised controlled supplementation trial was conducted in Cambodia to determine if there is potential harm associated with untargeted iron supplementation. We will recruit and randomise 480 non-pregnant women (ages 18-45 years) to receive one of three interventions: 60 mg elemental iron as ferrous sulfate (the standard, commonly used form), 18 mg ferrous bisglycinate (a highly bioavailable iron amino acid chelate) or placebo. We will measure ferritin concentrations (to evaluate non-inferiority between the two forms of iron), as well as markers of potential harm in blood and stool (faecal calprotectin, gut pathogen abundance and DNA damage) at baseline and 12 weeks. Mixed-effects generalised linear models will be used to assess the effect of iron on ferritin concentration and markers of potential harm at 12 weeks.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of British Columbia Clinical Research Ethics Board (H18-02610), the Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia Research Ethics Board (H18-02610) and the National Ethics Committee for Health Research in Cambodia (273-NECHR). Findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented to stakeholders and policymakers globally and shared within participants' communities.

Trial Registration Number: ClinicalTrials.gov Registry (NCT04017598).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430471PMC
August 2020

Folic acid supplementation in children with sickle cell disease: study protocol for a double-blind randomized cross-over trial.

Trials 2020 Jun 29;21(1):593. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

Food, Nutrition, and Health, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder which causes dysfunctional red blood cells (RBC) and is thought to increase requirements for folate, an essential B vitamin, due to increased RBC production and turnover in the disease. High-dose supplementation with 1-5 mg/d folic acid, synthetic folate, has been the standard recommendation for children with SCD. There is concern about whether children with SCD need such high doses of folic acid, following mandatory folic acid fortification of enriched grains in Canada, and advancements in medical therapies which extend the average lifespan of RBCs. In animal and human studies, high folic acid intakes (1 mg/d) have been associated with accelerated growth of some cancers, and the biological effects of circulating unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA), which can occur with doses of folic acid ≥ 0.2 mg/d, are not fully understood. The objective of this study is to determine efficacy of, and alterations in folate metabolism from high-dose folic acid in children with SCD during periods of folic acid supplementation versus no supplementation.

Methods: In this double-blind randomized controlled cross-over trial, children with SCD (n = 36, aged 2-19 years) will be randomized to either receive 1 mg/d folic acid, the current standard of care, or a placebo for 12 weeks. After a 12-week washout period, treatments will be reversed. Total folate concentrations (serum and RBC), different folate forms (including UMFA), folate-related metabolites, and clinical outcomes will be measured at baseline and after treatment periods. The sum of the values measured in the two periods will be calculated for each subject and compared across the two sequence groups by means of a test for independent samples for the primary (RBC folate concentrations) and secondary (UMFA) outcomes. Dietary intake will be measured at the beginning of each study period.

Discussion: As the first rigorously designed clinical trial in children with SCD, this trial will inform and assess current clinical practice, with the ultimate goal of improving nutritional status of children with SCD.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04011345 . Registered on July 8, 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04540-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325072PMC
June 2020

Micronutrient intake and prevalence of micronutrient inadequacy among women (15-49 y) and children (6-59 mo) in South Kivu and Kongo Central, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

PLoS One 2020 12;15(6):e0223393. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Division of Healthy Mothers, Babies & Children, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Iron biofortified beans and carotenoid enriched cassava are proposed as a solution to combat iron and vitamin A deficiencies, respectively, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). To inform the need for biofortified foods, we conducted a survey in 2014 in two provinces of the DRC, South Kivu and Kongo Central. Unexpectedly, women of reproductive age (WRA; 15-49 y) and their children (6-59 m) had a low prevalence of biochemical iron and vitamin A deficiency, based on ferritin and retinol binding protein, respectively. To better understand the lack of biochemical deficiency of these nutrients, we examined the prevalence of inadequate intake for these and other select nutrients. Dietary intake was assessed using 24-hour recalls among 744 mother-child dyads. Repeat recalls on a non-consecutive day were conducted with a subsample of the study population to account for intra-individual variation and estimate usual intake. In WRA, the prevalence of inadequate iron intakes were 33% and 29% in South Kivu and Kongo Central, respecitvely. The prevalence of inadequate vitamin A intakes among WRA was low in South Kivu (18%) and negligible in Kongo Central (1%). Iron inadequacy was highest in infants (6-11 m) at 82% and 64% in South Kivu and Kongo Central, respectively. Among older children (12-59 m) in both provinces, the prevalence of iron inadequacy was similar at ~20%. There was a high prevalence of inadequate zinc intake in women and children (i.e. 79-86% among WRA and 56-91% among children 6-59 m) consistent with our findings of a high prevalence of low serum zinc in the same sample. Dietary data here corroborate the low prevalence of biochemical vitamin A deficiency but not iron. However, any change to the supply of red palm oil (primary source of vitamin A) would dramatically reduce population vitamin A intakes, thus a carotenoid enriched cassava program may be beneficial as a safety net measure. Crops biofortified with zinc also appear warranted. We caution that our findings cannot be extrapolated to the entire Congo where diverse agro-ecological landscape exist or when political and environmental shocks occur which challenge food production.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223393PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7292409PMC
August 2020

The Homozygous Hemoglobin EE Variant Is Associated with Poorer Riboflavin Status in Cambodian Women of Reproductive Age.

J Nutr 2020 07;150(7):1943-1950

Department of Food, Nutrition and Health, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Background: Riboflavin is required for erythropoiesis, which is increased in people with hemoglobinopathies due to increased hemolysis and erythrocyte turnover. Dietary intake and status of riboflavin is poor in Cambodia, where hemoglobinopathies are common.

Objective: We assessed the association between genetic hemoglobin disorders and riboflavin status in women of reproductive age in Cambodia.

Methods: Venous blood samples from 515 Cambodian women of reproductive age, 18-45 y, were analyzed for biomarker status of riboflavin [erythrocyte glutathione reductase activation coefficient (EGRac)], genetic hemoglobin (Hb) disorders, and hematological indices. Linear regression analysis was used to estimate the association between EGRac with Hb, ferritin, and Hb genotypes. EGRac was log transformed in the analyses, and the regression coefficients represent the geometric mean differences.

Results: Genetic Hb disorders were present in 57% of the population, with the homozygous hemoglobin E variant (Hb EE) occurring in ∼10% of women (n = 53). Deficient (EGRac ≥1.40) or marginal riboflavin status (EGRac ≥1.30 and <1.40) was observed in 92% (n = 475) of women. The variant Hb EE genotype was associated with 18% (95% CI: 9%, 28%) higher geometric mean EGRac values than the normal Hb AA genotype (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Although riboflavin biomarker deficiency or marginal status is widely prevalent in Cambodian women, lower riboflavin status was observed more frequently in women with the Hb EE genotype than in women with normal Hb AA. The relation between genetic Hb disorders and riboflavin warrants further investigation. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01593423 and NCT02481375.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7330481PMC
July 2020

Is natural (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid as effective as synthetic folic acid in increasing serum and red blood cell folate concentrations during pregnancy? A proof-of-concept pilot study.

Trials 2020 May 5;21(1):380. Epub 2020 May 5.

Food, Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Background: North American health authorities recommend 0.4 mg/day folic acid before conception and throughout pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that must be reduced by dihydrofolate reductase and then further metabolized. Recent evidence suggests that the maximal capacity for this process is limited and unmetabolized folic acid has been detected in the circulation. The biological effects of unmetabolized folic acid are unknown. A natural form of folate, (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (Metafolin®), may be a superior alternative because it does not need to be reduced in the small intestine. Metafolin® is currently used in some prenatal multivitamins; however, it has yet to be evaluated during pregnancy.

Methods/design: This double-blind, randomized trial will recruit 60 pregnant women aged 19-42 years. The women will receive either 0.6 mg/day folic acid or an equimolar dose (0.625 mg/day) of (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid for 16 weeks. The trial will be initiated at 8-21 weeks' gestation (after neural tube closure) to reduce the risk of harm should (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid prove less effective. All women will also receive a prenatal multivitamin (not containing folate) to ensure adequacy of other nutrients. Baseline and endline blood samples will be collected to assess primary outcome measures, including serum folate, red blood cell folate and unmetabolized folic acid. The extent to which the change in primary outcomes from baseline to endline differs between treatment groups, controlling for baseline level, will be estimated using linear regression. Participants will have the option to continue supplementing until 1 week postpartum to provide a breastmilk and blood sample. Exploratory analyses will be completed to evaluate breastmilk and postpartum blood folate concentrations.

Discussion: This proof-of-concept trial is needed to obtain estimates of the effect of (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid compared to folic acid on circulating biomarkers of folate status during pregnancy. These estimates will inform the design of a definitive trial which will be powered to assess whether (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid is as effective as folic acid in raising blood folate concentrations during pregnancy. Ultimately, these findings will inform folate supplementation policies for pregnant women.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT04022135. Registered on 14 July 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04320-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7201521PMC
May 2020

Effect of once weekly folic acid supplementation on erythrocyte folate concentrations in women to determine potential to prevent neural tube defects: a randomised controlled dose-finding trial in Malaysia.

BMJ Open 2020 02 5;10(2):e034598. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Introduction: Folic acid (0.4 mg) taken prior to and during early pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). Because these birth defects occur early in pregnancy, before women may know they are pregnant, many countries have mandated the addition of folic acid to food staples. In countries where fortification is not possible, and weekly iron folic acid programmes exist to reduce anaemia, the WHO recommends that 2.8 mg (7×0.4 mg) folic acid be given instead of the current weekly practice of 0.4 mg. Currently, there is a lack of evidence to support if the 2.8 mg folic acid per week dose is sufficient to raise erythrocyte folate concentrations to a level associated with a reduced risk of a NTD-affected pregnancy. We aim to conduct a three-arm randomised controlled trial to determine the effect of weekly folic acid with iron on erythrocyte folate, a biomarker of NTD risk.

Methods And Analysis: We will recruit non-pregnant women (n=300; 18-45 years) from Selangor, Malaysia. Women will be randomised to receive either 2.8, 0.4 or 0.0 (placebo) mg folic acid with 60 mg iron weekly for 16 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period. The primary outcome will be erythrocyte folate concentration at 16 weeks and the mean concentration will be compared between randomised treatment groups (intention-to-treat) using a linear regression model adjusting for the baseline measure.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of British Columbia (H18-00768) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (JKEUPM-2018-255). The results of this trial will be presented at scientific conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Trial Registration Numbers: ACTRN12619000818134 and NMRR-19-119-45736.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044827PMC
February 2020

Menstrual blood losses and body mass index are associated with serum ferritin concentrations among female varsity athletes.

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2020 Jul 23;45(7):723-730. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Food, Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Preventing and treating iron deficiency are important components in the nutritional care of female varsity athletes, as these interventions may improve aerobic endurance and athletic performance. We examined the factors associated with ferritin concentration in 30 female varsity athletes (18-30 years) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Biochemical indicators of iron and inflammation status, dietary intake, supplementation practices, weight, height, and menstrual blood losses were assessed. Iron deficiency prevalence was 20% ( = 6/30; inflammation-adjusted ferritin <15 μg/L). Multiple linear regression was used to assess the associations of a number of independent explanatory variables with log-transformed serum ferritin (μg/L) as the continuous outcome variable. A 1-unit increase in body mass index (BMI; kg/m) was associated with 22% (95% CI: 9%-37%) higher mean ferritin concentrations, and a 1-point increase in menstrual loss score was associated with 1% (95% CI: 1%-2%) lower ferritin concentrations. Hemoglobin and hepcidin concentrations, inflammation biomarkers, consumption of iron supplements in any form or dose for ≥3 days/week, and age were not significantly associated with ferritin concentrations in the final adjusted model. Estimated monthly menstrual losses and BMI were associated with serum ferritin concentrations in female athletes in our study. These are easy-to-measure, noninvasive measurements that should be considered in the assessment of risk of iron deficiency in female athletes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2019-0436DOI Listing
July 2020

Suboptimal Biochemical Riboflavin Status Is Associated with Lower Hemoglobin and Higher Rates of Anemia in a Sample of Canadian and Malaysian Women of Reproductive Age.

J Nutr 2019 11;149(11):1952-1959

Department of Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Riboflavin is required for several redox reactions. Clinical riboflavin deficiency occurs mainly in low-income countries, where it is associated with anemia. The functional significance of suboptimal riboflavin status in different populations and its role in anemia is not well understood.

Objectives: We assessed the biomarker status of riboflavin and its association with hemoglobin concentration and anemia in women living in Vancouver, Canada, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Methods: Healthy nonpregnant, nonbreastfeeding women (19-45 y) were recruited from Canada ( n = 206) and Malaysia (n = 210) via convenience sampling. Fasting blood was collected to assess riboflavin status [erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient (EGRac)], hematological indicators, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), ferritin, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin B-12 concentrations. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the association of riboflavin status with hemoglobin concentration and anemia.

Results: EGRac (mean ± SD) values were higher, indicating poorer riboflavin status, in Malaysian compared with Canadian women (1.49 ± 0.17 compared with 1.38 ± 0.11). Likewise, riboflavin biomarker deficiency (EGRac ≥1.40) was significantly more prevalent among Malaysians than Canadians (71% compared with 40%). More Malaysian than Canadian women were anemic (hemoglobin <120 g/L; 18% compared with 7%). With use of linear regression (pooled sample; n = 416), EGRac values were negatively associated with hemoglobin concentration (r = -0.18; P < 0.001). This relation remained significant (P = 0.029) after adjusting for age, parity, ethnicity, vitamin B-12, folate, sTfR, ferritin, and vitamin A. Women with riboflavin deficiency (EGRac ≥1.40) were twice as likely to present with anemia (adjusted OR: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.08, 5.27) compared with women with EGRac <1.40.

Conclusions: Biochemical riboflavin deficiency was observed in Canadian and Malaysian women, with higher rates of deficiency among Malaysian women. Deficient biomarker status of riboflavin was a weak but significant predictor of hemoglobin and anemia, suggesting that the correction of riboflavin deficiency may potentially play a small protective role in anemia, but this requires further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz151DOI Listing
November 2019

Including 60 mg Elemental Iron in a Multiple Micronutrient Supplement Blunts the Increase in Serum Zinc after 12 Weeks of Daily Supplementation in Predominantly Anemic, Nonpregnant Cambodian Women of Reproductive Age.

J Nutr 2019 09;149(9):1503-1510

Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Background: Multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplementation may result in interaction effects due to competing absorptive pathways of trace elements.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of MMN supplementation with or without iron on serum zinc, selenium, and copper concentrations in Cambodian women.

Methods: In a 2 × 2 factorial double-blind randomized 12-wk trial, predominantly anemic, nonpregnant women (aged 18-45 y) received daily 60 mg of iron (Fe; n = 201); 14 other micronutrients including zinc (15 mg), selenium (65 μg), and copper (2 mg), but no iron (MMN; n = 202); 60 mg iron plus MMN (Fe + MMN; n = 206); or a placebo (n = 200). Fasting morning blood was collected at baseline and 12 wk from women in 26 villages in Kampong Chhnang province. Serum zinc, selenium, and copper concentrations (secondary outcomes of the randomized controlled trial) were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Generalized linear regression was used to estimate intervention effects [β coefficient (95% CI)] for Fe (with or without MMN) and MMN (with or without Fe) after testing for the presence of an Fe × MMN interaction.

Results: A total of 760 women completed the trial. Zinc deficiency prevalence at baseline was 45% (inflammation-adjusted serum zinc <10.7 μmol/L). A significant Fe × MMN interaction (P = 0.02) was detected in the 2 × 2 analysis with serum zinc concentration as the outcome: the MMN group had a higher mean serum zinc concentration at 12 wk (12.3 μmol/L; 95% CI: 12.2, 12.4 μmol/L) compared with all other groups, and the Fe + MMN group had a higher mean serum zinc concentration (11.6 μmol/L; 95% CI: 11.5, 11.7 μmol/L) compared with the Fe group (11.0 μmol/L; 95% CI: 10.9, 11.0 μmol/L) and the placebo group (11.2 μmol/L; 95% CI: 11.1, 11.4 μmol/L).

Conclusions: The inclusion of 60 mg iron in the daily MMN formulation may be interfering with the absorption and/or metabolism of supplemental zinc in Cambodian women. This is of particular concern when MMN supplementation is implemented in populations with risk of zinc deficiency. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT-02481375.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz097DOI Listing
September 2019

Effect of enhanced homestead food production on anaemia among Cambodian women and children: A cluster randomized controlled trial.

Matern Child Nutr 2019 05;15 Suppl 3:e12757

Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

There is inconsistent evidence on the efficacy of agriculture programmes at improving women and children's anaemia and nutritional status. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a nutrition-sensitive enhanced homestead food production (EHFP) programme on anaemia in women (18-45 years) and children (6-59 months) in rural Cambodia. Secondary outcomes were women's micronutrient status and women and children's anthropometry. In this cluster-randomized controlled trial, 900 households from 90 villages (clusters) were randomized to either (a) home gardens and behaviour change communication (BCC) on nutrition, hygiene, women's empowerment, and marketing (EHFP); (b) home gardens plus fishponds and BCC (EHFP + F); or (c) control (no intervention). Haemoglobin concentration and anthropometry were measured in women and children at baseline and at 22 months. Venous blood samples were collected in a subset of women (n = 450) at baseline and at 22 months. Generalized linear mixed effect models with repeated measures were used to evaluate the difference across groups and the change from baseline to end of study. Ninety clusters, 552 women, and 754 children completed the trial. Compared with control, we found a statistically significant impact on anaemia prevalence in children (-14.0 percentage points; P = 0.02) and retinol binding protein concentrations in women (difference in difference: 0.34; P = 0.02) randomized to EHFP and EHFP + F groups, respectively. No other statistically significant effects on anaemia, nutritional biomarker concentrations, or anthropometry were observed. Future research is needed to examine longer term impacts of EHFP on anthropometry in women and children and into the nutritional causes of anaemia among children in Cambodia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6593652PMC
May 2019

The Effect of Daily Iron Supplementation with 60 mg Ferrous Sulfate for 12 Weeks on Non-Transferrin Bound Iron Concentrations in Women with a High Prevalence of Hemoglobinopathies.

J Clin Med 2019 Feb 3;8(2). Epub 2019 Feb 3.

Food, Nutrition and Health, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

There is a lack of evidence for the safety of untargeted daily iron supplementation in women, especially in countries such as Cambodia, where both anemia and hemoglobinopathies are common. Our aim was to assess serum non-transferrin bound iron (NTBI), a toxic biochemical that accumulates in blood when too much iron is absorbed, in Cambodian women who received daily iron supplements in accordance with the 2016 global World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. We used fasting venous blood samples that were collected in a 2015 supplementation trial among predominantly anemic Cambodian women (18⁻45 years). Serum NTBI was measured with use of the FeROS™ eLPI assay (Aferrix Ltd., Tel-Aviv, Israel) in randomly selected sub-groups of women who received 60 mg daily elemental iron as ferrous sulfate ( = 50) or a placebo ( = 50) for 12 weeks. Overall, = 17/100 (17%) of women had an elevated serum NTBI concentration (≥0.1 μmol/L) at 12 weeks; = 9 in the Fe group and = 8 in the placebo group. Elevated serum NTBI concentration was not associated with age, iron supplementation, transferrin saturation or severe hemoglobinopathies ( > 0.05). In this population of women with a high prevalence of hemoglobinopathies, we found that daily iron supplementation was not associated with elevated serum NTBI concentrations at 12 weeks, as compared to placebo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8020180DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6406400PMC
February 2019

Measurement and interpretation of hemoglobin concentration in clinical and field settings: a narrative review.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2019 08 16;1450(1):126-146. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Anemia affects over 800 million women and children globally. Defined as a limited or insufficient functional red blood cell supply in peripheral blood, anemia causes a reduced oxygen supply to tissues and can have serious health consequences for women and children. Hemoglobin (Hb) concentration is most commonly measured for anemia diagnosis. Methods to measure Hb are usually invasive (requiring a blood sample); however, advances in diagnostic and clinical chemistry over the past decade have led to the development of new noninvasive methods. Accurate diagnosis at the individual level is important to identify individuals who require treatment. At the population level, anemia prevalence estimates are often the impetus for national nutrition policies or programs. Thus, it is essential that methods for Hb measurement are sensitive, specific, accurate, and reproducible. The objective of our narrative review is to describe the basic principles, advantages, limitations, and quality control issues related to methods of Hb measurement in clinical and field settings. We also discuss other biomarkers and tests that can help to determine the severity and underlying causes of anemia. In conclusion, there are many established and emerging methods to measure Hb concentration, each with their own advantages, limitations, and factors to consider before use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14003DOI Listing
August 2019

Lactating Canadian Women Consuming 1000 µg Folic Acid Daily Have High Circulating Serum Folic Acid Above a Threshold Concentration of Serum Total Folate.

J Nutr 2018 07;148(7):1103-1108

Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Background: Consumption of high-dose folic acid supplements is common throughout pregnancy and lactation in several countries, including Canada, Brazil, and the United States, and may lead to high levels of circulating unmetabolized folic acid.

Objective: The objective of the study was to characterize serum and whole-blood folate forms in Canadian lactating women regularly consuming a daily high-dose folic acid supplement.

Methods: One-hundred and seventeen Canadian lactating women aged between 18 and 42 y, with a geometric mean ± SD prepregnancy body mass index (kg/m2) of 23.1 ± 1.2, were enrolled in a vitamin D supplementation trial between 13 and 22 wk of gestation. As part of the trial, the women received a daily multivitamin containing 1000 µg folic acid throughout pregnancy and lactation until 8 wk postpartum. At 8 wk postpartum, serum folate forms, including folic acid and RBC total folate, were determined from nonfasted blood samples. Differences in median folate vitamer concentrations among quintiles of serum total folate status were assessed by the Wald test and quantile regression methods. A breakpoint in the relation between serum folic acid and serum total folate was modeled with the use of the segmented package in R.

Results: Median serum total folate concentration among participants was 79.3 nmol/L (5th-95th percentile 30.7-186 nmol/L) and median RBC folate concentration was 2790 nmol/L (5th-95th percentile 1330-4850 nmol/L). There was a breakpoint in the relation between serum total folate and serum folic acid at 78.5 nmol/L (95% CI: 67.9, 89.1 nmol/L), below which serum folic acid was not associated with serum total folate, and above which serum folic acid increased 0.78 nmol/L (95% CI: 0.70, 0.86 nmol/L; P < 0.001) for each 1 nmol/L increase in serum total folate.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate the potential for high serum folic acid concentrations proportional to overall folate concentrations in lactating women with serum total folate >80 nmol/L taking high-dose supplemental folic acid. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01112891.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy070DOI Listing
July 2018

Comparison of a New Multiplex Immunoassay for Measurement of Ferritin, Soluble Transferrin Receptor, Retinol-Binding Protein, C-Reactive Protein and α¹-Acid-glycoprotein Concentrations against a Widely-Used s-ELISA Method.

Diagnostics (Basel) 2018 Feb 2;8(1). Epub 2018 Feb 2.

GroundWork, Fläsch 7306, Switzerland.

Recently, a multiplex ELISA (Quansys Biosciences) was developed that measures ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), retinol-binding protein (RBP), C-reactive protein (CRP), α¹-acid glycoprotein (AGP), thyroglobulin, and histidine-rich protein 2. Our primary aim was to conduct a method-comparison study to compare five biomarkers (ferritin, sTfR, RBP, CRP, and AGP) measured with the Quansys assay and a widely-used s-ELISA (VitMin Lab, Willstaett, Germany) with use of serum samples from 180 women and children from Burkina Faso, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Bias and concordance were used to describe the agreement in values measured by the two methods. We observed poor overall agreement between the methods, both with regard to biomarker concentrations and deficiency prevalence estimates. Several measurements were outside of the limit of detection with use of the Quansys ELISA (total = 42 for ferritin, = 2 for sTfR, = 0 for AGP, = 5 for CRP, = 22 for RBP), limiting our ability to interpret assay findings. Although the Quansys ELISA has great potential to simplify laboratory analysis of key nutritional and inflammation biomarkers, there are some weaknesses in the procedures. Overall, we found poor comparability of results between methods. Besides addressing procedural issues, additional validation of the Quansys against a gold standard method is warranted for future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics8010013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871996PMC
February 2018

Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Varies Widely by Season in Canadian Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease.

J Clin Med 2018 Jan 30;7(2). Epub 2018 Jan 30.

Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited disorder caused by a variant (334) in the β-globin gene encoding hemoglobin. Individuals with SCD are thought to be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Our aim was to assess serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentrations, estimate deficiency prevalence, and investigate factors associated with 25OHD concentrations in children and adolescents with SCD attending BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. We conducted a retrospective chart review of SCD patients (2-19 y) from 2012 to 2017. Data were available for = 45 patients with = 142 25OHD measurements assessed using a EUROIMMUN analyzer (EUROIMMUN Medizinische Labordiagnostika AG, Lübeck, Germany). Additional data were recorded, including age, sex, and season of blood collection. Linear regression was used to measure associations between 25OHD concentration and predictor variables. Overall, mean ± SD 25OHD concentration was 79 ± 36 nmol/L; prevalence of low 25OHD concentrations (<30, <40, and <75 nmol/L) was 5%, 17% and 50%, respectively. Mean 25OHD concentrations measured during Jul-Sep were higher (28 (95% confidence interval CI: 16-40) nmol/L higher, < 0.001) compared to Jan-Mar. Vitamin D deficiency rates varied widely by season: Based on 25OHD <30 nmol/L, prevalence was 0% in Oct-Dec and 6% in Jan-Mar; based on <40 nmol/L, prevalence was 0% in Oct-Dec and 26% in Jan-Mar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm7020014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852430PMC
January 2018

High prevalence of thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency in early childhood among a nationally representative sample of Cambodian women of childbearing age and their children.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2017 Sep 5;11(9):e0005814. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Institute of Research for Development (IRD), UMR-204, IRD-UM-SupAgro, Montpellier, France.

Background: Thiamine deficiency is thought to be an issue in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia due to frequent clinical reports of infantile beriberi. However the extent of this public health issue is currently unknown due to a lack of population-representative data. Therefore we assessed the thiamine status (measured as erythrocyte thiamine diphosphate concentrations; eThDP) among a representative sample of Cambodian women of childbearing age (15-49 y) and their young children (6-69 mo).

Methodology/principle Findings: Samples for this cross-sectional analysis were collected as part of a national micronutrient survey linked to the Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) 2014. One-sixth of households taking part in the CDHS were randomly selected and re-visited for additional blood sampling for eThDP analysis (719 women and 761 children). Thiamine status was assessed using different cut-offs from literature. Women were mean (SD) 30 (6) y, and children (46% girls) were 41 (17) mo. Women had lower mean (95% CI) eThDP of 150 nmol/L (146-153) compared to children, 174 nmol/L (171-179; P < 0.001). Using the most conservative cut-off of eThDP < 120 nmol/L, 27% of mothers and 15% of children were thiamine deficient, however prevalence rates of deficiency were as high as 78% for mothers and 58% for children using a cut-off of < 180 nmol/L. Thiamine deficiency was especially prevalent among infants aged 6-12 mo: 38% were deficient using the most conservative cut-off (< 120 nmol/L).

Conclusions/significance: There is a lack of consensus on thiamine status cut-offs; more research is required to set clinically meaningful cut-offs. Despite this, there is strong evidence of suboptimal thiamine status among Cambodian mothers and their children, with infants <12 mo at the highest risk. Based on eThDP from this nationally-representative sample, immediate action is required to address thiamine deficiency in Cambodia, and likely throughout Southeast Asia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005814DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5600402PMC
September 2017

Serum Soluble Transferrin Receptor Concentrations Are Elevated in Congolese Children with Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Variants, but Not Sickle Cell Variants or α-Thalassemia.

J Nutr 2017 09 2;147(9):1785-1794. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

Food, Nutrition, and Health and

Anemia is common in Congolese children, and inherited blood disorders may be a contributing cause. The presence of sickle cell variants, X-linked glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and α-thalassemia, has been previously reported. A- deficiency is characterized by the co-inheritance of 376 and 202 variants and is common in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to measure the associations between inherited blood disorders and hemoglobin, ferritin, and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) concentrations in Congolese children. Venous blood was collected from 744 children aged 6-59 mo from 2 provinces. We measured biomarkers of nutritional and inflammation status and malaria. Pyrosequencing was used to detect sickle cell variants. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect variants and α-thalassemia deletions. Overall, 11% of children had a sickle cell variant, 19% of boys were A- hemizygotes, 12% and 10% of girls were A- hetero- or homozygotes, respectively, and 12% of children had α-thalassemia. Multivariable linear regression models (adjusted for age, province, altitude, malaria, and biomarkers of nutritional and inflammation status) showed that A- hemizygous boys and 376 homozygous girls had higher sTfR concentrations [geometric mean ratios (95% CIs): 1.20 (1.03, 1.39) and 1.25 (1.02, 1.53), respectively] than children with no variants. Hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations were not independently associated with any of the inherited blood disorder genotypes. We found that 2 variant genotypes were associated with elevated sTfR concentrations, which limits the accuracy of sTfR as a biomarker of iron status in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.252635DOI Listing
September 2017

The effect of oral iron with or without multiple micronutrients on hemoglobin concentration and hemoglobin response among nonpregnant Cambodian women of reproductive age: a 2 x 2 factorial, double-blind, randomized controlled supplementation trial.

Am J Clin Nutr 2017 Jul 10;106(1):233-244. Epub 2017 May 10.

Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia; and

Despite a high prevalence of anemia among nonpregnant Cambodian women, current reports suggest that iron deficiency (ID) prevalence is low. If true, iron supplementation will not be an effective anemia reduction strategy. We measured the effect of daily oral iron with or without multiple micronutrients (MMNs) on hemoglobin concentration in nonpregnant Cambodian women screened as anemic. In this 2 × 2 factorial, double-blind, randomized trial, nonpregnant women (aged 18-45 y) with hemoglobin concentrations ≤117 g/L (capillary blood) were recruited from 26 villages in Kampong Chhnang province and randomly assigned to receive 12 wk of iron (60 mg; Fe group), MMNs (14 other micronutrients; MMN group), iron plus MMNs (Fe+MMN group), or placebo capsules. A 2 × 2 factorial intention-to-treat analysis with the use of a generalized mixed-effects model was used to assess the effects of iron and MMNs and the interaction between these factors. In July 2015, 809 women were recruited and 760 (94%) completed the trial. Baseline anemia prevalence was 58% (venous blood). Mean (95% CI) hemoglobin concentrations at 12 wk in the Fe, MMN, Fe+MMN, and placebo groups were 121 (120, 121), 116 (116, 117), 123 (122, 123), and 116 (116, 117) g/L, with no iron × MMN interaction ( = 0.66). Mean (95% CI) increases in hemoglobin were 5.6 g/L (3.8, 7.4 g/L) ( < 0.001) among women who received iron ( = 407) and 1.2 g/L (-0.6, 3.0 g/L) ( = 0.18) among women who received MMNs ( = 407). The predicted proportions (95% CIs) of women with a hemoglobin response (≥10 g/L at 12 wk) were 19% (14%, 24%), 9% (5%, 12%), 30% (24%, 35%), and 5% (2%, 9%) in the Fe, MMN, Fe+MMN, and placebo groups, respectively. Daily iron supplementation for 12 wk increased hemoglobin in nonpregnant Cambodian women; however, MMNs did not confer additional significant benefit. Overall, ∼24% of women who received iron responded after 12 wk; even fewer would be likely to respond in the wider population. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02481375.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.140996DOI Listing
July 2017
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