Why an iron fish can make you stronger
By Philippa Roxby
When Canadian science graduate Christopher Charles visited Cambodia six years ago he discovered that anaemia was a huge public health problem.
In the villages of Kandal province, instead of bright, bouncing children, Dr Charles found many were small and weak with slow mental development.
Women were suffering from tiredness and headaches, and were unable to work.
Pregnant women faced serious health complications before and after childbirth, such as haemorrhaging.
Ever since, Dr Charles has been obsessed with iron.
Anaemia is the most common nutritional problem in the world, mainly affecting women of child-bearing age, teenagers and young children.
In developing countries, such as Cambodia, the condition is particularly widespread with almost 50% of women and children suffering from the condition, which is mainly caused by iron deficiency.
The standard solution – iron supplements or tablets to increase iron intake – isn’t working.
The tablets are neither affordable nor widely available, and because of the side-effects people don’t like taking them.
Lump of iron
Dr Charles had a novel idea. Inspired by previous research which showed that cooking in cast iron pots increased the iron content of food, he decided to put a lump of iron into the cooking pot, made from melted-down metal.
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