Micronized ferric pyrophosphate supplied through extruded rice kernels improves body iron stores in children: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled midday meal feeding trial in Indian schoolchildren

Madhari S Radhika, Krishnapillai M Nair, Rachakulla Hari Kumar, Mendu Vishnuvardhana Rao, Punjal Ravinder, Chitty Gal Reddy, Ginnela N V Brahmam
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011, 94 (5): 1202-10

BACKGROUND: Micronized ferric pyrophosphate (MFPP) in extruded rice kernels mixed in a rice-based meal could be an effective strategy for improving iron status of children in India.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine the impact of MFPP supplied through extruded rice kernels in a rice-based meal on iron status of children participating in the midday meal (MDM) scheme in India.

DESIGN: The sensory characteristics of cooked rice containing MFPP in extruded rice kernels, in vitro availability, and loss of iron during cooking from a typical MDM consisting of 125 g rice (dry weight) containing 19 mg Fe [fortified rice (FR); normal rice mixed with Ultra Rice (extruded kernels containing MFPP of ∼3.14-μm mean particle size)] in comparison with unfortified rice (UFR) were tested. A double-blind, 8-mo, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 5-11-y-old schoolchildren (n = 140) who were randomly assigned to receive either an FR-MDM or a UFR-MDM. Average consumption amounts of the MDM, height, weight, hemoglobin, ferritin, and C-reactive protein were measured at baseline and at 8 mo.

RESULTS: The sensory qualities of cooked FR and UFR were similar. The in vitro iron availability from FR-MDM (1.3%) was significantly (P < 0.05) lower than that from UFR-MDM (3.3%). Providing FR-MDM to the schoolchildren for 8 mo improved ferritin significantly (P < 0.001), by 8.2 ± 2.10 μg/L. However, the increase in hemoglobin was similar between groups (FR: 0.99 ± 0.10 g/dL; UFR: 1.15 ± 0.10 g/dL), which suggests that other factors beyond additional iron intake had a large influence on hemoglobin concentration. The prevalence of iron deficiency decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in the FR group (33-14%) and increased marginally in the UFR group (31-37%). The prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency anemia was similar between groups at baseline and at 8 mo.

CONCLUSION: Regular intake of 19 mg Fe/d in MFPP supplied through extruded rice kernels improves iron stores and reduces iron deficiency among schoolchildren in India.

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