A new study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica found that taking a particular probiotic strain improves iron levels in healthy pregnant women and may therefore help to prevent iron deficiency.
A total of 326 healthy women were randomized to receive a placebo or the probiotic strain Lactiplantibacillus plantarum 299v (Lp299v) administered with a low dose of iron, folic acid, and ascorbic acid. They took the placebo or the combination product twice daily during pregnancy.
Compared with taking placebo, taking the probiotic product reduced the prevalence of iron deficiency (78% versus 59%) and iron deficiency anemia (21% versus 7.4%) towards the end of pregnancy. (When a person develops iron deficiency anemia, the body cannot get the amount of oxygen it needs.)
Iron deficiency is common in women of childbearing age and is a global health problem. In a pregnant woman, this can lead to a number of complications for the mother and her child.
“We have previously shown that the Lp299v strain together with a low dose of iron increase iron absorption. With this study, we proved that this translates into an improved iron status in pregnant women,” said lead author Ulrika Axling, PhD, of Probi AB, in Sweden. “Iron deficiency is especially common during pregnancy and high-dose iron supplements are often recommended. Since these typically come with side effects such as stomach pain and constipation, there is a need for new solutions. This probiotic product could offer a novel and safe approach for improving iron status during pregnancy.”