Evidence Suggests Obesity Tied to Altered Iron Metabolism

Obese seem to have higher hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations, lower transferrin saturation

MONDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence suggests that obesity is associated with higher hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations and lower transferrin saturation, according to a review published online Oct. 9 in Obesity Reviews.

H.L. Cheng, from the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues reviewed the available literature to investigate the correlation between obesity and altered iron metabolism. A total of 25 studies meeting the eligibility criteria were included, which recruited participants aged 18 years and older and with a body mass index of 30 kg/m² or more. Iron status in free-living obese individuals was assessed in 10 of the studies, and 15 evaluated baseline biomarkers from bariatric surgery candidates.

The investigators identified 10 studies which used a nonobese comparison group. In these, higher mean hemoglobin concentrations were seen in seven obese groups, significantly higher ferritin levels in six groups, and significantly lower transferrin saturation in four obese groups. There was insufficient evidence to draw conclusions regarding the mean differences seen for soluble transferrin receptor, hepcidin, or C-reactive protein.

"The obese tended to have higher hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations and lower transferrin saturation compared to the nonobese," the authors write. "This systematic review supports evidence for obesity-associated disturbances in iron metabolism, the mechanisms for which are currently undefined."

The study was supported by Meat and Livestock Australia.

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