At the outset, participants rated themselves on a 10-point fatigue scale from 1 - no fatigue at all - to 10 - very severe fatigue. In addition, the researchers asked the women to describe any symptoms of anxiety or depression, and found that women in both groups reported low scores - meaning that these psychological factors were not likely to be the cause of fatigue. After one month, the researchers recorded a 29% decrease in the level of fatigue in the iron group compared with a 13% decrease in the placebo group.
Lead researcher Dr. F. Verdon, MD, said that medical investigators often tend to associate fatigue with emotional causes, and that iron deficiency may be an under-recognized cause of fatigue in women. Women of childbearing age with fatigue and low or borderline iron levels may also benefit from iron supplementation.