Overview

Dr. Crystal Karakochuk is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. Her research program focuses on Micronutrients and Human Health. Her team studies the links of nutritional status and anemia, including the role of nutritional supplementation and of hemoglobinopathies in children, women, and families in Canada and globally.

Her laboratory at the UBC Vancouver Campus is focused on the comprehensive measurement and interpretation of indicators of anemia (hematological and nutritional biomarkers) and genetic polymorphisms associated with hemoglobin.

She also studies the benefits and potential harms of nutrition supplementation policies and programs designed to treat anemia, including untargeted iron and folic acid supplementation in women and children globally.

Dr. Karakochuk's research program brings together clinicians, researchers, and policy makers to advance and apply knowledge in micronutrients and human health. Dr. Karakochuk’s research program addresses two key objectives:

-To improve diagnostic methods and investigate new biomarkers for anemia and iron deficiency for individual- and population-level assessment

-To evaluate the risk-benefit of Canadian and global micronutrient supplementation policies to advance clinical practice and to inform safe, effective nutrition therapy worldwide

Publications

Baseline Hemoglobin, Hepcidin, Ferritin, and Total Body Iron Stores are Equally Strong Diagnostic Predictors of a Hemoglobin Response to 12 Weeks of Daily Iron Supplementation in Cambodian Women
The Journal of Nutrition
Lulu X Pei and Hou Kroeun and Suzanne M Vercauteren and Susan I Barr and Tim J Green and Arianne Y Albert and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxab108
08/2021

Iron-Containing Oral Contraceptives and Their Effect on Hemoglobin and Biomarkers of Iron Status: A Narrative Review
Nutrients
Jordie AJ Fischer and Carolina S. Sasai and Crystal Karakochuk
DOI: 10.3390/nu13072340
07/2021

Daily Oral Supplementation with 60 mg of Elemental Iron for 12 Weeks Alters Blood Mitochondrial DNA Content, but Not Leukocyte Telomere Length in Cambodian Women
Nutrients
Shannon L. Steele and Anthony Y. Y. Hsieh and Izabella Gadawski and Hou Kroeun and Susan I. Barr and Angela M. Devlin and Hélène C. F. Côté and Crystal D. Karakochuk
DOI: 10.3390/nu13061877
05/2021

Strategies for improving recruitment of pregnant women to clinical research: An evaluation of social media versus traditional offline methods in Vancouver, Canada (Preprint)
Kelsey M Cochrane and Jennifer A Hutcheon and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.2196/preprints.29377
04/2021

Anemia Prevalence and Anthropometric Status of Indigenous Women and Young Children in Rural Botswana: The San People
Nutrients
Tebogo T. Leepile and Kaelo Mokomo and Maitseo M. M. Bolaane and Andrew D. Jones and Akira Takada and Jennifer L. Black and Eduardo Jovel and Crystal D. Karakochuk
DOI: 10.3390/nu13041105
03/2021

Can Automated Hematology Analyzers Predict the Presence of a Genetic Hemoglobinopathy? An Analysis of Hematological Biomarkers in Cambodian Women
Diagnostics
Lulu X. Pei and Tebogo T. Leepile and Kelsey M. Cochrane and Kaitlyn L. I. Samson and Jordie A. J. Fischer and Brock A. Williams and Hou Kroeun and Lizl Bonifacio and Crystal D. Karakochuk
DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics11020228
02/2021

Folic acid supplementation in children with sickle cell disease: study protocol for a double-blind randomized cross-over trial
Trials
Brock A. Williams and Heather McCartney and Erin Adams and Angela M. Devlin and Joel Singer and Suzanne Vercauteren and John K. Wu and Crystal D. Karakochuk
DOI: 10.1186/s13063-020-04540-7
12/2020

Regression to the Mean: A Statistical Phenomenon of Worthy Consideration in Anemia Research
Current Developments in Nutrition
Kelsey M Cochrane and Brock A Williams and Jordie A J Fischer and Kaitlyn L I Samson and Lulu X Pei and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.1093/cdn/nzaa152
10/2020

The Effects of Iron Supplementation and Fortification on the Gut Microbiota: A Review
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Emma CL Finlayson-Trick and Jordie AJ Fischer and David M Goldfarb and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.3390/gidisord2040030
09/2020

Folic Acid Supplementation in Children with Sickle Cell Disease: Study Protocol for a Double-Blind Randomized Cross-Over Trial
Brock A Williams and Heather McCartney and Erin Adams and Angela M Devlin and Joel Singer and Suzanne Vercauteren and John K Wu and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-30458/v1
05/2020

Is natural (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid as effective as synthetic folic acid in increasing serum and red blood cell folate concentrations during pregnancy? A proof-of-concept pilot study
Kelsey M Cochrane and Chantal Mayer and Angela M Devlin and Rajavel Elango and Jennifer A Hutcheon and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.21203/rs.2.18214/v2
03/2020

Is natural (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid as effective as synthetic folic acid in increasing serum and red blood cell folate concentrations during pregnancy? A proof-of-concept pilot study
Kelsey M Cochrane and Chantal Mayer and Angela M Devlin and Rajavel Elango and Jennifer A Hutcheon and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.21203/rs.2.18214/v1
12/2019

Including 60 mg Elemental Iron in a Multiple Micronutrient Supplement Blunts the Increase in Serum Zinc after 12 Weeks of Daily Supplementation in Predominantly Anemic, Nonpregnant Cambodian Women of Reproductive Age
The Journal of Nutrition
Jeffrey B Holmes and Hou Kroeun and Lisa A Houghton and Rosalind S Gibson and Kimberly B Harding and Luz Maria De-Regil and Klaus Kraemer and Susan I Barr and Crystal D Karakochuk
DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxz097
09/2019

Measurement and interpretation of hemoglobin concentration in clinical and field settings: a narrative review
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Crystal D. Karakochuk and Sonja Y. Hess and Denish Moorthy and Sorrel Namaste and Megan E. Parker and Aviva I. Rappaport and Rita Wegmüller and Omar Dary
DOI: 10.1111/nyas.14003
08/2019

Effect of enhanced homestead food production on anaemia among Cambodian women and children: A cluster randomized controlled trial
Maternal & Child Nutrition
Kristina D. Michaux and Kroeun Hou and Crystal D. Karakochuk and Kyly C. Whitfield and Sokhoing Ly and Vashti Verbowski and Ame Stormer and Keith Porter and Kathy H. Li and Lisa A. Houghton and Larry D. Lynd and Aminuzzaman Talukder and Judy McLean and Timothy J. Green
DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12757
05/2019

The Effect of Daily Iron Supplementation with 60 mg Ferrous Sulfate for 12 Weeks on Non-Transferrin Bound Iron Concentrations in Women with a High Prevalence of Hemoglobinopathies
Journal of Clinical Medicine
Shannon L. Steele and Hou Kroeun and Crystal Karakochuk
DOI: 10.3390/jcm8020180
02/2019

Comparison of a New Multiplex Immunoassay for Measurement of Ferritin, Soluble Transferrin Receptor, Retinol-Binding Protein, C-Reactive Protein and a1-Acid-glycoprotein Concentrations against a Widely-Used s-ELISA Method
Diagnostics
DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics8010013
02/2018

Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Varies Widely by Season in Canadian Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease
Journal of Clinical Medicine
DOI: 10.3390/jcm7020014
01/2018

Mean hemoglobin concentrations in fasting venous and non-fasting capillary blood of Cambodian women using a hemoglobinometer and an automated hematology analyzer.
Clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine
DOI: 10.1515/cclm-2017-0118
PubMed: 28412720
10/2017

High prevalence of thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency in early childhood among a nationally representative sample of Cambodian women of childbearing age and their children.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005814
PubMed: 28873391
09/2017

Serum Soluble Transferrin Receptor Concentrations Are Elevated in Congolese Children with Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Variants, but Not Sickle Cell Variants or a-Thalassemia.
The Journal of nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/jn.117.252635
PubMed: 28768839
09/2017

The effect of inflammation on serum zinc concentrations and the prevalence estimates of population-level zinc status among Congolese children aged 6-59 months.
European journal of clinical nutrition
DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2017.127
PubMed: 28832571
08/2017

Variation in haemoglobin measurement across different HemoCue devices and device operators in rural Cambodia.
Journal of clinical pathology
DOI: 10.1136/jclinpath-2017-204351
PubMed: 28275044
07/2017

The effect of oral iron with or without multiple micronutrients on hemoglobin concentration and hemoglobin response among nonpregnant Cambodian women of reproductive age: a 2 x 2 factorial, double-blind, randomized controlled supplementation trial
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Crystal D Karakochuk and Mikaela K Barker and Kyly C Whitfield and Susan I Barr and Suzanne M Vercauteren and Angela M Devlin and Jennifer A Hutcheon and Lisa A Houghton and Sophonneary Prak and Kroeun Hou and Tze Lin Chai and Ame Stormer and Sokhoing Ly and Robyn Devenish and Christian Oberkanins and Helene Pühringer and Kimberly B Harding and Luz M De-Regil and Klaus Kraemer and Tim J Green
DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.140996
07/2017

Correlations between Maternal, Breast Milk, and Infant Vitamin B12 Concentrations among Mother–Infant Dyads in Vancouver, Canada and Prey Veng, Cambodia: An Exploratory Analysis
Nutrients
DOI: 10.3390/nu9030270
03/2017

Comparison of four immunoassays to measure serum ferritin concentrations and iron deficiency prevalence among non-pregnant Cambodian women and Congolese children
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
DOI: 10.1515/cclm-2016-0421
2017

Median urinary iodine concentrations are indicative of adequate iodine status among women of reproductive age in prey veng, Cambodia
Nutrients
DOI: 10.3390/nu8030139
2016

A method comparison study between two hemoglobinometer models (Hemocue Hb 301 and Hb 201+) to measure hemoglobin concentrations and estimate anemia prevalence among women in Preah Vihear, Cambodia
International Journal of Laboratory Hematology
DOI: 10.1111/ijlh.12583
2016

Factors affecting the acceptability and consumption of Corn Soya Blend Plus as a prenatal dietary supplement among pregnant women in rural Cambodia
Public Health Nutrition
DOI: 10.1017/S1368980015003018
2016

Prenatal supplementation with Corn Soya Blend Plus reduces the risk of maternal anemia in late gestation and lowers the rate of preterm birth but does not significantly improve maternal weight gain and birth anthropometric measurements in rural Cambodian women: A randomized trial
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.104034
2016

Folic acid fortified milk increases blood folate to concentrations associated with a very low risk of neural tube defects in Singaporean women of childbearing age
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
DOI: 10.6133/apjcn.2016.25.1.08
2016

Improved sanitation facilities are associated with higher body mass index and higher hemoglobin concentration among rural cambodian women in the first trimester of pregnancy
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.16-0278
2016

Anemia and micronutrient status ofwomen of childbearing age and children 6–59 months in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nutrients
DOI: 10.3390/nu8020098
2016

Household Consumption of Thiamin-Fortified Fish Sauce Increases Erythrocyte Thiamin Concentrations among Rural Cambodian Women and Their Children Younger Than 5 Years of Age: A Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial
Journal of Pediatrics
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.10.066
2016

Perinatal consumption of thiamine-fortified fish sauce in rural Cambodia: A randomized clinical trial
JAMA Pediatrics
DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2065
2016

Anthropometric measures are simple and accurate paediatric weight-prediction proxies in resource-poor settings with a high HIV prevalence
Archives of Disease in Childhood
DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2015-309645
2016

Evaluation of two methods to measure hemoglobin concentration among women with genetic hemoglobin disorders in Cambodia: A method-comparison study
Clinica Chimica Acta
Crystal D. Karakochuk and Amynah Janmohamed and Kyly C. Whitfield and Susan I. Barr and Suzanne M. Vercauteren and Hou Kroeun and Aminuzzaman Talukder and Judy McLean and Timothy J. Green
DOI: 10.1016/j.cca.2014.12.021
02/2015

Food Sharing Practices in Households Receiving Supplemental Foods for the Treatment of Moderate Acute Malnutrition in Ethiopian Children
Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition
DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2014.962772
2015

Elevated levels of iron in groundwater in Prey Veng province in Cambodia: A possible factor contributing to high iron stores in women
Journal of Water and Health
DOI: 10.2166/wh.2014.297
2015

Poor thiamin and riboflavin status is common among women of childbearing age in rural and urban Cambodia
Journal of Nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/jn.114.203604
2015

Maternal vitamin D3 supplementation at 50 mg/d protects against low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in infants at 8 wk of age: A randomized controlled trial of 3 doses of vitamin D beginning in gestation and continued in lactation
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.106385
2015

The homozygous hemoglobin EE genotype and chronic inflammation are associated with high serum ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor concentrations among women in rural Cambodia
Journal of Nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.218636
2015

Genetic hemoglobin disorders rather than iron deficiency are a major predictor of hemoglobin concentration in women of reproductive age in rural prey veng, Cambodia
Journal of Nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/jn.114.198945
2015

Treatment of moderate acute malnutrition with ready-to-use supplementary food results in higher overall recovery rates compared with a corn-soya blend in children in southern Ethiopia: An operations research trial
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.111.029744
2012

Research
Grants

CIHR Project Grant (2018): Is iron supplementation harmful in populations where iron deficiency is not the cause of anemia? A 12 week RCT in Cambodia.

CIHR Project Grant (2019): Folic acid supplementation in children with sickle cell disease: a double-blind randomized crossover trial

The Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award (2018). High-dose folic acid supplementation in sickle cell disease: Friend or foe?

Canadian Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund. The Nutritional Hematology (NUTRI-HEME) Laboratory at UBC.

BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute - Healthy Starts Catalyst Grant.Is natural folate as effective as synthetic folic acid in increasing plasma and red blood cell folate concentrations during pregnancy? A proof-of-concept pilot study.

International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI North America) Future Leader Award. Investigating the potential risk of iron supplementation in Cambodian women.

Honours & Awards

2019, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award

2018, International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI North America) Future Leader Award.

2015, Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition Award, sponsored by the Global Nutrition Council of the American Society of Nutrition

2016, Outstanding Achievements for a Doctoral Candidate Award, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada.

2016, Early Career Award for Contribution to Alleviation of Micronutrient Malnutrition International Life Sciences Institute.

Research Group Members

Kelsey Cochrane, Masters Student
Emma Finlayson-Trick
Jordie Fischer, Masters Student
Dahlia Parolin, Undergraduate summer student trainee
Brock Williams, Doctoral Student, Clinical Dietitian