Study: Prebiotics Improve Iron Absorption

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 | 294 Views

Two recent studies have led to new insights into supplements containing the prebiotic Vivinal GOS—developed by FrieslandCampina; it increases the uptake of iron and improves gut microbiome.

The first study showed an increase in iron absorption by 62 percent upon supplementation with the prebiotic in iron deficient Kenyan infants. The second study revealed that adding the prebiotic mitigated the adverse effects of iron supplementation on gut microbiota and infections.

Dr Marchel Gorselink, development director at FrieslandCampina Domo, said: “Vivinal GOS is used mostly in infant nutrition designed to maintain a healthy gut; these new studies really add to a versatile use of this ingredient.’

Both studies were conducted by a team of researchers from the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, led by Professor Michael Zimmermann.

Iron deficiency is a common global problem and can lead to anaemia. To control iron deficiency, iron-containing supplements can be consumed. Adding iron to the diet of iron-deficient infants reduces the incidence of anaemia, but may also increase the chance of infections.

In the second study with Kenyan infants, the research team found that adding the prebiotic to an iron-containing supplement mitigated most of the adverse effects of iron. The prebiotic supplementation increased beneficial bacteria (Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus), reduced pathogenic bacteria in the gut and reduced the number of treated respiratory infections.

“These are the first human studies that clearly show that prebiotics can improve iron absorption and reduce the negative side-effects of iron supplements in infants with iron deficiency,” stated Professor Zimmermann.