1. Introduction and Literature Review
Diets across the world are commonly deficient in several micronutrients, especially iron. In developing countries, severe iron deficiency is considered to contribute directly to cognitive impairment, decreased work productivity, and death. In industrialized countries, iron depletion increases the risk of anemia in certain populations (eg, pregnant women, female blood donors, and women using intrauterine devices). It is therefore important to understand the factors contributing to maintaining optimal iron status. There is increasing evidence that moderately elevated body iron stores, below levels commonly found in genetic hemochromatosis, may be associated with adverse health outcomes.