Link between iron and vitamin D deficiency?

Approximately 12 per cent of pre-menopausal women in New Zealand are diagnosed with iron deficiency. Previous research from Massey University has identified women of Asian origin are five times more likely to be iron deficient, and researchers are keen to find out why.

Dr Claire Badenhorst, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, says Middle Eastern and South Asian women are often diagnosed with vitamin D and iron deficiency. “Changes in lifestyle factors, for example clothing and food choice, may be contributing to the development of these nutrient deficiencies.

“If left untreated, these deficiencies can develop into chronic health conditions, including poor muscle strength and bone health, poor immune function, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Dr Badenhorst says.

Dr Badenhorst is looking for Auckland-based Middle Eastern and South Asian women to participate in a study to assess the relationship between hormones, genetics, iron and vitamin D status.

Participants will receive information on their body measurements and blood pressure at the end of the testing session. Their iron and vitamin D status will be sent out to them via email or mail at the completion of the study. Participants will also receive a brief report summarising the main findings of the project.

Researchers require approximately 235 women for this study. Participants must:

  • Be between 18 – 40 years old
  • Be of Middle Eastern and/or South Asian descent (preferably the participant, or both of their parents should be born in a Middle Eastern or South Asian country)
  • Be able to speak and read English
  • Be living in Auckland
  • Not have consumed iron, vitamin C or calcium supplements, or supplements that contain these nutrients, in the previous three months
  • Not have donated blood for six months prior to taking part in the study
  • Not be pregnant or currently breastfeeding
  • Have no known health problems likely to influence iron status, including inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, history of gastric ulcers, disorders of red blood cells, menorrhagia, piles, blood in the urine or malaria

Participants will also be required to provide blood samples throughout the study programme. The data will be used only for the purposes of this project and no individual will be identified. Only the investigators and administrators of the study will have access to personal information and this will be kept secure and strictly confidential. Results of this project may be published or presented at conferences or seminars and no individual will be able to be identified.

Participants will receive compensation for travel (a $20 petrol voucher) and body composition reports for feedback on the day of the test.

Dr Badenhorst is the principal researcher, working with associated researchers Associate Professor Pam von Hurst and Dr Kathryn Beck, School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, and Associate Professor Peter Peeling, School of Human Sciences, University of Western Australia.

The research is funded by the Massey University Research Fund, College of Health.


Massey University


Healthcanal Staff
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