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Nutrients 2014, 6(11), 5103-5116; doi:10.3390/nu6115103

Micronutrient Status in Female University Students: Iron, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Folate

1
Discipline of Nutrition & Metabolism, School of Molecular Bioscience, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
2
Department of Statistics, Macquarie University, Ryde, NSW 2112, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 August 2014 / Revised: 24 October 2014 / Accepted: 28 October 2014 / Published: 13 November 2014
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Abstract

Young women are at an increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly due to higher micronutrient requirements during childbearing years and multiple food group avoidances. The objective of this study was to investigate biomarkers of particular micronutrients in apparently healthy young women. Female students (n = 308; age range 18–35 year; Body Mass Index 21.5 ± 2.8 kg/m2; mean ± SD) were recruited to participate in a cross-sectional study. Blood samples were obtained from participants in the fasted state and analysed for biomarkers of iron status, vitamin B12, folate, homocysteine, selenium, zinc, and copper. The results show iron deficiency anaemia, unspecified anaemia, and hypoferritinemia in 3%, 7% and 33.9% of participants, respectively. Low vitamin B12 concentrations (<120 pmol/L) were found in 11.3% of participants, while 4.7% showed sub-clinical deficiency based on serum methylmalonic acid concentrations >0.34 μmol/L. Folate concentrations below the reference range were observed in 1.7% (serum) or 1% (erythrocytes) of participants, and 99.7% of the participant had erythrocyte-folate concentrations >300 nmol/L. Serum zinc concentrations <10.7 μmol/L were observed in 2% of participants. Serum copper and selenium concentrations were below the reference range in 23% and 11% of participants, respectively. Micronutrient deficiencies including iron and vitamin B12, and apparent excess of folate are present in educated Australian female students of childbearing age, including those studying nutrition. The effects of dietary behaviours and food choices on markers of micronutrient status require further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: iron; zinc; copper; selenium; vitamin B12; folate; biomarker; women iron; zinc; copper; selenium; vitamin B12; folate; biomarker; women
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fayet-Moore, F.; Petocz, P.; Samman, S. Micronutrient Status in Female University Students: Iron, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Folate. Nutrients 2014, 6, 5103-5116.

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