Read full article by Sade Oguntala @ Nigerian Tribune Photo Credit: Nigerian Tribune
MILLETS can play a promising role in preventing and reducing high levels of iron deficiency anaemia. In a new study, researchers said its regular consumption can improve haemoglobin and serum ferritin levels to reduce iron deficiency anaemia, which is rising globally.
The researchers found that regular millet consumption either as a meal or drink increased haemoglobin levels by as much as 13.2 percent. Four studies in the review also showed serum ferritin increasing by an average of 54.7 percent. Ferritin is an iron-containing protein in the blood and is a clinical marker for iron deficiency.
Millets, including sorghum, are a traditional staple in many countries and are known to be rich in iron. However, there is a wide variation in the iron composition of millets depending on the type, variety, and growing conditions.
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) adversely affects the growth and cognitive development in children; cognitive, physical, and psychological health in non-pregnant women, and maternal and neonatal outcomes in pregnant women.
Many factors cause IDA including, gut health, dietary iron deficiency, bioavailability, folic acid deficiency, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B12 deficiency. In addition, hookworm infestation and malaria also contribute to the increase in the prevalence of IDA among Asian and African countries.
The research, a meta-analysis of 22 studies on humans and eight laboratory studies on millets consumption and anaemia, was undertaken by seven organisations across four countries and was led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Nutrition’.