The relationship between obesity and hypoferraemia in adults: a systematic review

Authors

  • H. L. Cheng,

    Corresponding author
    1. Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
      HL Cheng, Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia. E-mail: hche3056@uni.sydney.edu.au
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  • C. Bryant,

    1. Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • R. Cook,

    1. Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • H. O'Connor,

    1. Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • K. Rooney,

    1. Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • K. Steinbeck

    1. Academic Department of Adolescent Medicine, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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HL Cheng, Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia. E-mail: hche3056@uni.sydney.edu.au

Summary

A growing number of studies suggest a potential link between obesity and altered iron metabolism. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine existing literature on iron status in obese populations. A comprehensive literature search was conducted. Included studies recruited participants ≥ 18 years with a body mass index ≥ 30 kg m−2 and provided descriptive statistics for haemoglobin or ferritin at a minimum. There were 25 studies meeting all eligibility criteria, of these 10 examined iron status in free-living obese individuals and 15 reported baseline iron biomarkers from bariatric surgery candidates. Non-obese comparison groups were used by 10 (40%) articles. In these, seven obese groups reported higher mean haemoglobin concentration; six reported significantly higher ferritin concentration; and four significantly lower transferrin saturation. Due to insufficient data, it was not possible to make conclusions regarding mean differences for soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), hepcidin or C-reactive protein. Existing evidence suggests a tendency for higher haemoglobin and ferritin concentration and lower transferrin saturation in obesity. Alternation of iron biomarkers in obese populations may be a result of obesity-related inflammation and/or related comorbidities. Further research incorporating measurement of inflammatory cytokines, sTfR and hepcidin is required to confirm the impact of obesity on iron status.

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