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August 5, 1988

Do Low Levels of Iron Affect Body's Ability to Regulate Temperature, Experience Cold?

JAMA. 1988;260(5):607. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410050019006

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IN PENNSYLVANIA, one researcher was placing women volunteers into cold baths and recording their temperatures. At about the same time, another researcher was flying women volunteers to North Dakota and seating them on a chaise longue in a cold room until they got goose bumps.

Both researchers are nutritionists interested in iron nourishment. Both wanted to see if low levels of iron affect the body's ability to regulate temperature.

Women are better subjects, these researchers say, because they are more likely to become iron deficient as a result of iron losses with menstruation. (Both researchers have been measuring levels of the iron-carrying protein ferritin in the blood.) Neither researcher was aware of the other's project until each was well into the work and by chance they encountered each other at a conference.

Experiencing Cold  The researchers have remarkably similar findings and each has come to a similar conclusion: iron-deficient women