Long and colleagues performed a systematic review on the benefits of iron supplementation in low-birth-weight infants; 15 trials were retained. Iron supplementation resulted in better hematologic markers of iron status, including hemoglobin concentration, decreased the incidence of iron-deficiency-related anemia, but did not change any other clinical outcome such as growth or neurological development.
The methods of the review are very good, but most trials included were small and their methodology was not so good. Moreover, only 5 trials monitored the impact of iron supplementation on growth and 2 on neurological development. More data are needed before iron supplementation can be considered mandatory in low-birth-weight infants.
– Jacques Lacroix