Iron and Iron Deficiency

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Iron Overload and Hemochromatosis

Iron overload is the accumulation of excess iron in body tissues. Hemochromatosis is the disease resulting from significant iron overload. Hemochromatosis can have genetic and non-genetic causes.

Medically reviewed by Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, MBA, FAAFP; American Board of Family Medicine

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Iron and Iron Deficiency. Last update: 3/30/2004


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Iron deficiency – United States, 1999–2000. MMWR 2002;51:897–899.
  2. Akman M, Cebeci D, Okur V, Angin H, Abali O, Akman AC. The effects of iron deficiency on infants' developmental test performance. Acta Paediatr. 2004 Oct;93(10):1391–6.
  3. Friel JK, Aziz K, Andrews WL, Harding SV, Courage ML, Adams RJ. A double-masked, randomized control trial of iron supplementation in early infancy in healthy term breast-fed infants. J Pediatr. 2003 Nov;143(5):582–6.
  4. Lozoff B, De Andraca I, Castillo M, Smith JB, Walter T, Pino P. Behavioral and developmental effects of preventing iron-deficiency anemia in healthy full-term infants. Pediatrics. 2003 Oct;112(4):846–54.
  5. Grantham-McGregor S, Ani C. A review of studies on the effect of iron deficiency on cognitive development in children. J Nutr. 2001 Feb;131(2S–2):649S–666S; discussion 666S–668S.
  6. Ronnenberg AG, Wood RJ, Wang X, Xing H, Chen C, Chen D, Guang W, Huang A, Wang L, Xu X. Preconception hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations are associated with pregnancy outcome in a prospective cohort of Chinese women. J Nutr. 2004 Oct;134(10):2586–91.
  7. Scholl TO, Hediger ML, Fischer RL, Shearer JW. Anemia vs iron deficiency: increased risk of preterm delivery in a prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 May;55(5):985–8.
  8. Brownlie T 4th, Utermohlen V, Hinton PS, Haas JD. Tissue iron deficiency without anemia impairs adaptation in endurance capacity after aerobic training in previously untrained women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Mar;79(3):437–43.
  9. Haas JD, Brownlie T 4th. Iron deficiency and reduced work capacity: a critical review of the research to determine a causal relationship. J Nutr. 2001 Feb;131(2S–2):676S–688S; discussion 688S–690S.
  10. Bruner AB, Joffe A, Duggan AK, Casella JF, Brandt J. Randomised study of cognitive effects of iron supplementation in non-anaemic iron-deficient adolescent girls. Lancet. 1996 Oct 12;348(9033):992–6.
  11. US National Library of Medicine, NIH. Iron deficiency anemia.
  12. Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH. Dietary supplement fact sheet. Available online: http://dietary-

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