Annales 75.3 - Meeting the Iron Needs of Young Children

A. M. Prentice,

Iron is a key nutrient throughout the human lifespan, with particularly importance in the first two years of life.  At this time, iron plays a major role in the production of new red blood cells and muscle cells as well as contributing to brain development.  Iron deficiency anemia can drastically affect motor and cognitive performance in the growing child, with low birth weight infants at particularly high risk.  
Recent breakthroughs in molecular biology have demonstrated in detail how iron is absorbed, transported and utilized in the human body via the liver-derived hormone hepcidin. Recent discovery of hepidecin has shed new light on several of the previously intractable puzzles regarding iron metabolism and nutrition.

This issue of Annales Nestlé explores the latest research in the field and explains in detail the challenges and opportunities for meeting the iron needs of infants and children.