Iron deficiency is a common global problem, which can lead to anaemia1. To control iron deficiency, iron-containing supplements are given. The first study by ETH in Zurich investigated whether adding Vivinal GOS to an iron-containing supplement affected the uptake of iron in Kenyan infants. The results of this study showed an increase in iron absorption by 62% after Vivinal GOS supplementation2.
Adding iron to the diet of iron-deficient infants reduces the incidence of anemia, but may also increase the chance of infections. In the second study with Kenyan infants, the Zimmermann group showed that adding Vivinal GOS to an iron-containing supplement mitigated most of the adverse effects of iron: Vivinal GOS supplementation increased beneficial bacteria (Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus), reduced pathogenic bacteria in the gut, and reduced the number of treated respiratory infections3.
Prof. Zimmermann of the ETH Institute: ‘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. Currently, we are working together with FrieslandCampina on a new study to find out whether Vivinal GOS increases iron absorption in young women.’
Dr. Marchel Gorselink, Development Director at FrieslandCampina DOMO: ‘Vivinal GOS has long been a key ingredient in infant formula, which has been shown to have a beneficial effect on gut microbiota composition4,5 and defaecation 4,6. 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.’
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Potential consumer benefits are not to be considered as health claims. They should be considered as potential leads that might be developed into health claims complying with the local legal requirements.