General Information
    • ISSN: 2010-0221 (Print)
    • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Chem. Eng. Appl.
    • Frequency: Quarterly
    • DOI: 10.18178/IJCEA
    • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Shen-Ming Chen
    • Executive Editor: Jennifer X. Zeng
    • Abstracting/ Indexing: Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS), Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, CABI, Electronic Journals Library, Google Scholar, ProQuest,  Crossref, EBSCO, CNKI.
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Prof. Dr. Shen-Ming Chen
National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan

IJCEA 2012 Vol.3(4): 274-281 ISSN: 2010-0221
DOI: 10.7763/IJCEA.2012.V3.199

Supplementation with Iron and Zinc Selectively Improves Cognitive and Behavioral Functions in Female Adolescents

Anna Rangini Chellappa and Karunanidhi.S.

Abstract—This study was designed to test the efficacy of iron, zinc and combined iron and zinc supplementation on cognitive functions and behavioral outcomes of female adolescents. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, intervention trial was conducted in Chennai, India among 4 groups of female adolescents who were aged 17 to 19 years. They were randomly assigned to any one of the four intervention groups and were given iron alone ( Fe, 60 mg elemental iron), zinc alone ( Zn, 30 mg elemental zinc), both iron and zinc (FeZn, 60 mg elemental iron and 30 mg elemental zinc) or placebo (PC) daily for 4 months. Hemoglobin, serum ferritin, serum zinc , 7 cognitive tests of mental speed, sustained attention, abstract reasoning, verbal and visual memory and verbal and visual recognition and three behavioral outcomes including anxiety, depression and perceived general fatigue were assessed at baseline and after 4 months of supplementation. Post intervention, the groups supplemented with Fe and FeZn scored higher on the cognitive function of visual memory than the Zn alone and PC groups. Iron and Zinc either as single supplements or in the combined form were equally efficacious in improving the cognitive function of mental speed on accuracy levels. The Fe, Zn , and FeZn groups did not improve in other cognitive measures: sustained attention, abstract reasoning immediate and delayed recall of verbal material and verbal and visual recognition compared with the PC group. Behavioral measures (state anxiety, trait anxiety and perceived general fatigue ) did not differ among the groups after 4 months of supplementation. Supplementation with FeZn significantly reduced Beck Depression Inventory scores , but there was no change in the Fe, Zn and PC groups. Daily supplementation with Fe , Zn and FeZn benefitted only certain cognitive functions among female adolescents in the college setting. The results also support a beneficial effect of FeZn on depression in adolescent girls.

Index Terms—Behavior, cognition, iron, zinc .

Anna Rangini Chellappa is with the Department of Home Science, Queen Mary’s College, Chennai 600 004. Karunanidhi S. is with Department of Psychology, University of Madras, Chennai 600 005. Corresponding author.(e-mail:


Cite: Anna Rangini Chellappa and Karunanidhi.S., "Supplementation with Iron and Zinc Selectively Improves Cognitive and Behavioral Functions in Female Adolescents," International Journal of Chemical Engineering and Applications vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 274-281, 2012.

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