Monday, October 1, 2012

Groundwater constituents provide nutritional supplement

When I hear "groundwater" and "Bangladesh"  together in a sentence, I immediately start thinking about all of the public health related issues caused by unsafe water supplies in that country.  However, Rebecca Merrill and fellow researchers at Johns Hopkins University have recently shown that some groundwater constituents may be beneficial.  In a study of 209 women of reproductive age in rural Bangladesh, Dr. Merrill demonstrated that daily iron intake from  groundwater sources was positively correlated to biomarkers of iron nutritional status.  Dr. Merrill attributes the low prevalence of iron deficiency in the population studied to the presence of iron in the groundwater.  Iron deficiency is a leading cause of anemia, and is estimated to be the world's most common single micronutrient defiency.  The take-away message is that consuming iron rich drinking water likely improves iron nutritional status, and that something in the water may be responsible for improvements in health.

Dr. Merril's publication linking groundwater iron to biomarkers:
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/141/5/944.short

Dr. Merril's earlier publication on measuring iron in groundwater:
http://www.iwaponline.com/jwh/008/jwh0080818.htm

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