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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
“The conflict between a high iron requirement and the risk of side effects when using high doses of iron supplement can only be solved in one way-by improving the iron uptake," says Probi AB.
Swedish probiotics bioengineering firm Probi AB will launch a new finished probiotic product in Sweden next February that is said to boost iron absorption with minimal side effects. The product, Probi FerroSorb, is based on the probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (DSM 9843), also known as LP299V.
Five clinical trials show that Probi FerroSorb significantly increases iron absorption from a meal, the company says, while at the same time helping users maintain a well-functioning digestive system. It is designed to “reduce risk of side effects normally seen with traditional iron supplements,” said Linda Neckmar, director of marketing and sales, consumer healthcare, in a press release. Side effects are often caused by poor iron absorption, the company adds, because "iron acts as a nutrient for several undesirable intestinal bacteria" and “unabsorbed iron in the intestines can upset the intestinal flora and cause symptoms such as nausea and constipation."
Instead, Probi FerroSorb is engineered to leave a minimal amount of iron unabsorbed in the intestines. “Probi FerroSorb solves iron deficiency in a completely new way by increasing the uptake-not only the intake" of iron, the firm says. “The conflict between a high iron requirement and the risk of side effects when using high doses of iron supplement can only be solved in one way-by improving the iron uptake.”
Neckmar added that this approach may help open new doors for probiotics. By “targeting iron deficiency in a unique way…this will create an opportunity for continuous growth for the probiotic category,” she said.
In addition to LP299V and iron, the finished product also includes vitamin C and folic acid. It is aimed at women of childbearing age to reduce iron deficiency. According to the World Health Organization, up to 30% of women of childbearing age may be iron deficient.
Although it did not win, Probi FerroSorb was nominated for a Food Ingredients Europe 2015 award for Best Functional Innovation. Probi AB also offers other finished products, including Probi Digestis for gastrointestinal health and Probi Defendum for immune health.
Nutritional Outlook magazine