Female Iron Deficiency
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Iron deficiency is a very common problem in fertile human females, and results mainly from a combination of blood loss during menstruation and a diet poor in easily absorbable iron. Further demands on the limited iron stores result from pregnancy and lactation. This problem has not been frequently reported in captive great apes. One possible reason is the apparently lower extent of blood loss during menstruation in great apes. The other is that dietary sources of iron are more consistently available in captivity. Studies of iron deficiency in wild populations of great apes are not available. it is interesting to note that red meat is the best source of absorbable iron in the diet.
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