Impact of daily consumption of Moringa (Moringa oleifera) dry leaf powder on iron status of Senegalese lactating women
A randomized study was conducted to test the efficacy of Moringa powder on iron status and weight gain in women. In an open-labelled randomized trial, 82 moderately anaemic, lactating women, aged 26.7� 6.5 years, received a weekly dose of either 100g of Moringa powder(Moringa group) or 120 mg iron sulphate with 0.5 mg folicacid (Control group). Data from 64 women (33 from Moringa group and 31 from Control group) were analyzed. Baseline parameters, socio-economic, anthropometry, haematology, plasma ferritin, and acute phase proteins were comparable in both groups. Low plasma ferritin (< 12 �g/l) indicating iron deficiency was found in 13 and 14 women from the Moringa and Control groups, respectively. After 3 months oftreatment, mean haemoglobin concentrations significantly increased in both groups (p<0.001) but iron stores were unchanged in the Moringa group while they significantly increased in the Control group indicating that consumption of Moringa leaves failed to restore iron stores in anaemic subjects. A slight improvement was observed in the prevalence of anaemia in both groups but anaemia still persisted due to other reasons than iron deficiency anaemia. None of the groups gained weightduring the 3 months. However, the average weight lost was less important in the Moringa group (-0.8 � 2.1 kg) compared to the control group (-1.2� 2.3 kg) but the difference was not significant (p=0.45).The amount of digestible protein in the powder could suggest that the consumption of Moringa was beneficial to the rural women by preventing weight loss during the rainy season. Micronutrient status improvement of vulnerable people in developing countries like Senegal shouldcombine diet-based strategies through production and consumption of animal derived food, vegetable, fruits and food fortification program. However, Moringa Oleifera is one example of local food that can be used in nutritional intervention program, but its use needs additional rigorous clinical trials to confirm its nutritional benefits.