Consumption of iron-biofortified beans positively affects cognitive performance in 18-to 27-Year-Old Rwandan female college students in an 18-week randomized controlled efficacy trial

Laura E. Murray-Kolb, Michael J. Wenger, Samuel P. Scott, Stephanie E. Rhoten, Mercy G. Lung'aho, Jere D. Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Evidence shows that iron deficiency in adulthood may affect cognitive performance, possibly by disrupting neurotransmitter regulation or brain energymetabolism. Women of reproductive age (WRA) are among those who are most vulnerable to iron deficiency; however, they have been largely ignored in the literature relating iron status to cognition. Objective: Our aim was to determine the efficacy of iron-biofortified beans in improving cognition in WRA compared with control beans. Methods: A double-blind, randomized intervention study was conducted in 150 women aged 18-27 y with low iron status (ferritin < 20 μg/L). Women were randomly assigned to consume iron-biofortified beans (86.1 ppm iron) or control beans (50.1 ppm iron) daily for 18 wk. Iron status was assessed based on hemoglobin, ferritin, transferrin receptor, and body iron values and on cognitive performance on 5 computerized tasks at baseline and endline. Results: Groups did not differ on any variables at baseline. Per protocol analyses revealed that consumption of the biofortified beans resulted in a 17% larger improvement in the speed of spatial selective attention; a nearly 7-fold larger improvement in the speed, a 68% greater improvement in the efficiency, and a > 2-fold greater improvement in the specificity of memory retrieval; and a > 2-fold larger improvement in the speed and a > 3-fold larger improvement in the efficiency of memory search-all of which are relative to consumption of the control beans (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). Conclusions: Cognitive performance is sensitive to iron status, and consumption of iron-biofortified beans for 18 wk improved cognitive performance, especially the efficiency of search and the speed of retrieval on memory tasks, in young adult women. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01594359.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2109-2117
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume147
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

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Iron
Randomized Controlled Trials
Students
Cognition
Efficiency
Ferritins
Double-Blind Method
Neurotransmitter Agents
Young Adult
Brain

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Murray-Kolb, Laura E. ; Wenger, Michael J. ; Scott, Samuel P. ; Rhoten, Stephanie E. ; Lung'aho, Mercy G. ; Haas, Jere D. / Consumption of iron-biofortified beans positively affects cognitive performance in 18-to 27-Year-Old Rwandan female college students in an 18-week randomized controlled efficacy trial. In: Journal of Nutrition. 2017 ; Vol. 147, No. 11. pp. 2109-2117.
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abstract = "Background: Evidence shows that iron deficiency in adulthood may affect cognitive performance, possibly by disrupting neurotransmitter regulation or brain energymetabolism. Women of reproductive age (WRA) are among those who are most vulnerable to iron deficiency; however, they have been largely ignored in the literature relating iron status to cognition. Objective: Our aim was to determine the efficacy of iron-biofortified beans in improving cognition in WRA compared with control beans. Methods: A double-blind, randomized intervention study was conducted in 150 women aged 18-27 y with low iron status (ferritin < 20 μg/L). Women were randomly assigned to consume iron-biofortified beans (86.1 ppm iron) or control beans (50.1 ppm iron) daily for 18 wk. Iron status was assessed based on hemoglobin, ferritin, transferrin receptor, and body iron values and on cognitive performance on 5 computerized tasks at baseline and endline. Results: Groups did not differ on any variables at baseline. Per protocol analyses revealed that consumption of the biofortified beans resulted in a 17{\%} larger improvement in the speed of spatial selective attention; a nearly 7-fold larger improvement in the speed, a 68{\%} greater improvement in the efficiency, and a > 2-fold greater improvement in the specificity of memory retrieval; and a > 2-fold larger improvement in the speed and a > 3-fold larger improvement in the efficiency of memory search-all of which are relative to consumption of the control beans (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). Conclusions: Cognitive performance is sensitive to iron status, and consumption of iron-biofortified beans for 18 wk improved cognitive performance, especially the efficiency of search and the speed of retrieval on memory tasks, in young adult women. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01594359.",
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Consumption of iron-biofortified beans positively affects cognitive performance in 18-to 27-Year-Old Rwandan female college students in an 18-week randomized controlled efficacy trial. / Murray-Kolb, Laura E.; Wenger, Michael J.; Scott, Samuel P.; Rhoten, Stephanie E.; Lung'aho, Mercy G.; Haas, Jere D.

In: Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 147, No. 11, 01.11.2017, p. 2109-2117.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Consumption of iron-biofortified beans positively affects cognitive performance in 18-to 27-Year-Old Rwandan female college students in an 18-week randomized controlled efficacy trial

AU - Murray-Kolb, Laura E.

AU - Wenger, Michael J.

AU - Scott, Samuel P.

AU - Rhoten, Stephanie E.

AU - Lung'aho, Mercy G.

AU - Haas, Jere D.

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N2 - Background: Evidence shows that iron deficiency in adulthood may affect cognitive performance, possibly by disrupting neurotransmitter regulation or brain energymetabolism. Women of reproductive age (WRA) are among those who are most vulnerable to iron deficiency; however, they have been largely ignored in the literature relating iron status to cognition. Objective: Our aim was to determine the efficacy of iron-biofortified beans in improving cognition in WRA compared with control beans. Methods: A double-blind, randomized intervention study was conducted in 150 women aged 18-27 y with low iron status (ferritin < 20 μg/L). Women were randomly assigned to consume iron-biofortified beans (86.1 ppm iron) or control beans (50.1 ppm iron) daily for 18 wk. Iron status was assessed based on hemoglobin, ferritin, transferrin receptor, and body iron values and on cognitive performance on 5 computerized tasks at baseline and endline. Results: Groups did not differ on any variables at baseline. Per protocol analyses revealed that consumption of the biofortified beans resulted in a 17% larger improvement in the speed of spatial selective attention; a nearly 7-fold larger improvement in the speed, a 68% greater improvement in the efficiency, and a > 2-fold greater improvement in the specificity of memory retrieval; and a > 2-fold larger improvement in the speed and a > 3-fold larger improvement in the efficiency of memory search-all of which are relative to consumption of the control beans (P < 0.01 for all comparisons). Conclusions: Cognitive performance is sensitive to iron status, and consumption of iron-biofortified beans for 18 wk improved cognitive performance, especially the efficiency of search and the speed of retrieval on memory tasks, in young adult women. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01594359.

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