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Influence of iron deficiency on bone health

Tussy, Jordan
One of today's most prevalent chronic metabolic diseases is osteoporosis, for it is responsible for over 8.9 million fractures annually and approximately one fracture every three seconds. Osteoporosis is characterized by compromised bone strength that substantially increases one's risk of fracture. Along with physical activity, there are several nutrients that play a key role in regulation of bone metabolism and maintaining optimal bone health, including calcium, vitamin D, and iron. In fact, current research has indicated an association between a deficiency in dietary iron status and compromised bone mineral density (BMD), but the details remain unclear. The primary objective of this review was to analyze current knowledge on the impact of iron deficiency on bone health and propose a new hypothesis on the potential mechanisms behind the correlation.
Four in vitro animal studies that assessed the affect of reduced dietary intake on various bone parameters in weanling rats were reviewed. Correlations between results was analyzed and used to determine consistent alterations in bone metabolism due to impaired iron status. The findings indicated a significant association between deficient iron and reduced BMD. Additionally, the decrease in various biomarkers of both collagen synthesis and osteoblast activation implies that these mechanisms may be inhibited when iron is limiting. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that iron deficiency significantly impairs bone metabolism due to an inhibition of osteoblast activation or collagen synthesis that subsequently reduces bone formation and mineralization. However, further research is needed to more specifically examine these associations.