Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 165–174 | Cite as

Iron status biomarkers in iron deficient women consuming oily fish versus red meat diet

  • S. Navas-Carretero
  • A. M. Pérez-Granados
  • S. Schoppen
  • B. Sarria
  • A. Carbajal
  • M. P. Vaquero


Specific recommendations for anemic individuals consist in increasing red meat intake, but the population at large is advised to reduce consumption of red meat and increase that of fish, in order to prevent the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This study aimed to determine the effects of consuming an oily fish compared to a red meat diet on iron status in women with low iron stores. The study was designed attending the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement guidelines. It was a randomised crossover dietary intervention study of two 8-week periods. Twenty-five young women with low iron stores completed the study. Two diets containing a total of 8 portions of fish, meat and poultry per week were designed differing only in their oily fish or red meat content (5 portions per week). At the beginning and the end of each period blood samples were taken and hemoglobin, hematocrit, serum ferritin, serum iron, serum transferrin, serum transferrin receptor-2 and the Zn-protoporphyrin/free-protoporphyrin ratio were determined. Food intake and body weight were monitored. During the oily fish diet, PUFA intake was significantly higher (p=0.010) and iron intake lower (mean±SD, 11.5±3.4 mg/dayvs. 13.9±0.1 mg/day, p=0.008), both diets providing lower mean daily iron intake than recommended for menstruating women. Although there were no significant differences after 16 weeks, serum ferritin moderately decreased and soluble transferrin receptor increased with the oily fish, while changes with the red meat diet were the opposite. In conclusion, an oily fish diet compared to a red meat diet does not decrease iron status after 8 weeks in iron deficient women.

Key words

Iron deficiency Nonheme iron bioavailability Red meat Oily fish n-3 fatty acids Dietary recommendations 

Marcadores del estado de hierro en mujeres con deficiencia de hierro que consumen una dieta de pescado azul frente a una dieta de carne roja


Las recomendaciones nutricionales dirigidas a personas con anemia consisten generalmente en aumentar el consumo de carne roja, mientras que las recomendaciones para la población general están enfocadas a la reducción del consumo de esta carne y aumentar el consumo de pescado, con el fin de reducir el riesgo de desarrollar enfermedades cardiovasculares. El presente estudio se diseñó para investigar los efectos del consumo de una dieta basada en pescado azul frente a una de carne roja sobre el estado de hierro de mujeres con bajas reservas de hierro. Este estudio se planteó de acuerdo con la guía CONSORT (patrones consolidados para la publicación de ensayos). Se trató de una intervención nutricional cruzada, aleatorizada, con 2 periodos de 8 semanas cada uno. Veinticinco mujeres finalizaron el estudio. Se diseñaron dos dietas que contenían 8 raciones de pescado, carne y aves a la semana. Sólo se diferenciaban en el contenido de pescado azul o carne roja (4 raciones semanales). Al inicio y final de cada periodo se obtuvieron muestras de sangre y se analizó la concentración de hemoglobina, hematocrito, ferritina, hierro sérico, transferrina, receptor-2 de la transferrina y el cociente Zn-protoporfirina/ protoporfirina libre. El peso y la ingesta de alimentos se controlaron durante el estudio. Durante la dieta de pescado azul la ingesta de ácidos grasos poliinsturados (AGP) fue significativamente mayor (p=0,010) y la ingesta de hierro se redujo (media±SD, 11,5±3,4 frente a 13,9±0,1 mg/día, p=0.008), siendo el aporte de hierro menor al recomendado para esta población. Aunque no se encontraron diferencias significativas durante 16 semanas, la ferritina descendió ligeramente y la concentración del receptor de transferrina aumentó con la dieta de pescado azul, mientras que los cambios observados con la dieta rica en carne roja fueron los opuestos. En conclusión, una dieta basada en pescado azul comparada con una dieta rica en carne roja, no provoca un descenso en el estado de hierro de mujeres con deficiencia de hierro después de 8 semanas.

Palabras clave

Deficiencia de hierro Biodisponibilidad de hierro Carne roja Pescado azul Ácidos grasos n-3 Recomendaciones dietéticas 


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Copyright information

© Universidad de Navarra 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Navas-Carretero
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. M. Pérez-Granados
    • 1
  • S. Schoppen
    • 3
  • B. Sarria
    • 1
  • A. Carbajal
    • 4
  • M. P. Vaquero
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Metabolism and Nutrition, Instituto del Frío, Food Science and Technology and Nutrition Institute (ICTAN)Spanish National Research CouncilMadrid
  2. 2.Dept. of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Physiology and ToxicologyUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Lipid Research UnitFundación Jiménez DíazMadrid
  4. 4.Dept. of NutritionMadrid Complutense UniversityMadrid

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