Biomedical Research

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- Biomedical Research (2005) Volume 16, Issue 1

Role of ascorbic acid in the prevention of iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnancy

There have been differing reports on the role of dietary ascorbic acid in iron absorption, especially non-heme iron. We measured some haematological and biochemical parameters to establish any correlation between serum ascorbic acid and iron and thus open study line on the need for co-supplementation of the two during antenatal visits to prevent iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnancy. A total of 74 pregnant women aged between 18 and 42 years were recruited for the study. Also 20 age- matched non-pregnant women who were not in their menstrual periods at the time of study were used as control subjects. Blood sample collected from each subject was analyzed for hematological (haemoglobin-Hb, packed cell volume-PCV and mean cell haemoglobin concentration-MCHC) and biochemical (serum iron and ascorbic acid) parameters. Our results showed that 62(83.8%) of the pregnant women were anaemic. The haematological parameters showed no significant differences (p>0.05 for each) between the first trimester and other trimesters. However, they were significantly lower (p<0.05) in the pregnant women of all the trimesters than in the control group. The biochemical parameters showed no significant differences (p>0.05) between the first and second trimesters as well as between each of the two trimesters and the control group but they were significantly lower (p<0.05) in the third trimester than in the first and second trimesters and in the control group. There was no correlation (r=0.03789 for first trimester; r=0.2799 for second trimester and r=0.2568 for con-trol group; p>0.05) between the serum iron and ascorbic acid in the first and second trimesters and the control group. However, there was positive correlation (r=0.6506; p<0.05) between them in the third trimester. We are of the opinion that ascorbic acid plays important role in intestinal absorption of iron, especially in low levels of serum iron.

Author(s): E. N. Shu and S. O. Ogbodo

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