This study investigated the efficacy of a reusable fish-shaped iron ingot, compared to daily iron supplementation, in reducing anemia in rural Cambodia. Study participants were assigned to either an iron fish group, an iron supplement group, or a non-placebo control group, and hemoglobin measurements were taken at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Although the iron supplementation group experienced higher serum ferritin levels by 6 months, the gains were lost by 12 months and neither intervention group experienced increased hemoglobin levels at 6 or 12 months. Therefore, the fish-shaped iron ingots are not recommended in Cambodia or in contexts with low iron deficiency and highly prevalent genetic hemoglobin disorders.
Rappaport, A., et. al., Am J Clin Nutr (August 2017).