HealthDay News — Iron therapy is associated with increases in serum folate, vitamin B12, and with other biochemical parameters in young women with iron deficiency, according to study findings.

“The relationship between iron deficiency and vitamin B12 and folate was recognized several decades ago,” noted Angel F. Remacha, MD, of Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues in the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology.

“Combined deficiency is important in clinical practice owing to its relationship with malabsorption syndromes.”

To investigate vitamin B12/folate changes during treatment of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) with pharmacological iron, the investigators followed a cohort of 35 young adult women. At four-month follow-up, a hematological response was obtained in 97.2% of participants. Changes in serum vitamin B12, serum folate, and other biochemical parameters were monitored.

Iron treatment correlated with significant increases in serum folate and vitamin B12 from baseline. This increase was also seen in six patients with vitamin B12 levels ≤200 pmol/L, who had serum vitamin B12 levels above 200 pmol/L at the study end. Changes were seen in other biochemical parameters, with significant increases in glucose, uric acid, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and bilirubin. There was a significant decrease in urea.

“Data from our work suggest that iron deficiency could affect many metabolic pathways, including vitamin B12, folate, and lipids. These changes normalize after iron therapy, even in women with baseline low levels of serum vitamin B12,” said the researchers.

“Health care practitioners should be aware of these changes in IDA management.”


  1. Remacha AF et al. International Journal of Laboratory Hematology. 2015; doi: 10.1111/ijlh.12378.