PAEDIATRICS: Edited by Berthold V. Koletzko and Raanan ShamirIron interventions in children from low-income and middle-income populations benefits and risksBaumgartner, Jeanninea; Barth-Jaeggi, TanjabAuthor Information aCentre of Excellence for Nutrition, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa bLaboratory of Human Nutrition, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Correspondence to Jeannine Baumgartner, PhD, Centre of Excellence for Nutrition, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa. Tel: +27 76 436 44 39; fax: +27 18 299 240 64; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: May 2015 - Volume 18 - Issue 3 - p 289-294 doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000168 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review Children from low- and middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable to develop iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), which can be prevented or controlled with different iron intervention strategies. However, there is a debate on the efficacy and safety of iron interventions, especially in children from areas with a high infectious disease burden. This review provides an overview of recent trials that investigated the benefits and potential risks of iron interventions in children from low and middle-income countries. Recent findings Recent studies showed that intermittent iron supplementation is a promising strategy in reducing iron deficiency and IDA. Only a few studies investigated the effect of iron interventions on developmental outcomes, such as growth and cognition, and provided mixed results. An increasing number of studies reported that iron intervention increases morbidity and causes unfavourable shifts in the gut microbial composition along with increases in intestinal inflammation, particularly in children with a high infectious disease burden. Summary More studies in children from low and middle-income populations are needed that provide evidence for the beneficial effects of iron interventions on functional outcomes beyond alleviating iron deficiency and IDA, and that explore potential mechanisms underlying the negative effects of iron reported in recent trials. Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.