The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines supplements as products that contain micronutrients in concentrated form that are intended to add further nutritional value to the diet. Supplementation formulations include tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders, and they can be consumed alone or combined with foods.

Oral iron supplements are the first-line treatment for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in women of reproductive age. Gastrointestinal side effects from iron supplement intake are commonly reported, but can be decreased by following proper dosing regimens. Supplements containing iron may have a negative impact on the pediatric gut microbiome, but these adverse effects may be reduced with the addition of prebiotics.

In areas with a high burden of viral, parasitic, and/or bacterial infections, aiming supplementation at children who are anemic or at risk of iron deficiency is suggested, accompanied by malaria prevention and disease treatment strategies. Vitamin A supplementation can improve hemoglobin concentrations.

We found 37 resource(s)

Review of the Evidence Regarding the Use of Antenatal Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Literature Review published by Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in
This review presents the conclusions of a task force that set out to assess the prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes and adverse birth outcomes in low- and middle-income countries; the data from trials comparing multiple-micronutrient supplements that contain iron–folic acid with iron–folic acid supplements alone; the risks of reaching…
Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes Related to Iron Supplementation or Iron Status: A Summary of Meta-Analyses
Systematic Review published by The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine in
This review was conducted to derive an umbrella summary of meta-analyses performed to evaluate the effects and associations of iron supplementation or iron status on maternal and birth/neonatal outcomes. Evidence from 16 meta-analyses suggests beneficial effects of multiple-micronutrient supplementation on some neonatal outcomes. Furthermore,…
Operational Guidance on Interventions to Reduce Anemia
Information, Education and Communication Materials published by WHO eLENA in
The below-listed external resources provide important information on relevant health topics related relevant for anemia and its etiologies.
Comprehensive Costing in Micronutrient Supplementation
Technical Report published by SPRING in
In this brief, SPRING present results from a cost-efficiency study of a pilot program of micronutrient powder (MNP) distribution in Namutumba district in Uganda. This brief discusses costing studies for nutrition interventions generally, and highlights how a cost-efficiency study can influence policy decisions.
Development and Rollout of National Maternal Anemia Materials: Experience from Mozambique
Information, Education and Communication Materials published by Maternal and Child Survival Program in
This case study describes the process of development of social and behavior change resources for the program to to reduce iron deficiency anemia in women in Mozambique
Iron and Cognitive Development: What Is the Evidence?
Literature Review published by Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism in
This review synthesizes the evidence on the effect of iron supplementation in infants and children on early and long-term child cognitive development. The findings indicate a potential benefit of oral iron treatment for cognitive performance in anemic primary-school children. However, antenatal and early childhood oral iron intervention studies…
Minerals in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Review Article
Literature Review published by Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in
This review provides information on the role of minerals in pregnancy and lactation and their rate of consumption, as well as complications induced by their deficiency or excess use. The function of minerals, their recommended daily intake, as well as maximum allowable daily intake for adults, pregnant, and lactating women are described.
Point-of-Use Fortification of Foods with Micronutrient Powders Containing Iron in Children of Preschool and School-Age
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
This systematic review synthesizes evidence on the effects of point‐of‐use fortification of foods with iron‐containing micronutrient powders alone, versus in combination with other vitamins and minerals, on nutrition, health, and development among children of preschool and school age, compared with no intervention, a placebo, or iron‐containing…