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Evaluation of efficacy of jaggery and raisins as supplements in iron deficiency anemia among medical undergraduate students in South India

Sakthibalan M, Sarumathi E, Mangaiarkkarasi A, Bikash Ranjan Meher.

Background: Anemia is defined as a reduction of the total circulating red cell mass and is a major public health problem in India. More than 1.6 billion anemic people have manifestations of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). The best and most sustainable strategy for preventing micronutrient (iron and folic acid) deficiency is dietary supplement. Adolescent age group is the window of opportunity to correct their nutritional status by providing additional food supplements and prevent future consequences of nutritional deficiencies.

Aims and Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of jaggery and raisins as supplements in treating iron deficiency anemia.

Materials and Methods: This is a prospective interventional clinical endpoint study conducted among 50 female medical undergraduate students. They randomly received oral nutritional supplement (jaggery balls - 5 g and raisins - 5 g) once daily in the morning for 8 weeks. Body weight and complete blood count were assessed before and at the end of 8 weeks of intervention.

Results: After 8 weeks of daily supplementation of jaggery and raisins, we observed that there was a significant rise in the mean hemoglobin (Hb) level to 11.79 1.07 (P < 0.0001) and also a significant rise in the mean red blood cell count to 4.22 0.30 (P < 0.0001) compared to baseline values.

Conclusion: The outcome of this study proved the effective role of the nutritional supplementation in improving the Hb status in IDA. Combination of jaggery with raisins proved to be a better natural food supplement to overcome IDA without prominent side effects as observed with oral and parenteral iron preparations. It can also be used as a prophylactic strategy to combat iron deficiency in vulnerable population.

Key words: Iron Deficiency Anemia; Undergraduate Students; Jaggery; Raisins

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The articles in Bibliomed are open access articles licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.