Growth of preschool children was improved when fed an iron-fortified fermented milk beverage supplemented with Lactobacillus acidophilus.Nutr Res. 2008 Apr; 28(4):226-32.NR
Food fortification is an efficient strategy applied to overcome iron deficiency anemia. This study investigated the effect of iron fortification with probiotic bacteria in a milk beverage on growth and iron status of preschool children with a usually low-bioavailable-iron diet intake. The fermented milk beverage was fortified with iron amino acid chelate (3 mg iron per 80 mL) and supplemented with Lactobacillus acidophilus (test) or not (control). The beverage was fed to 190 children aged 2 to 5 years for a duration of 101 days. Anthropometric, hematologic, and nutritional assessments were carried out before and after the intervention. The levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit decreased (P < .001) in both groups (test and control) but remained within the reference range. The children fed the probiotic milk beverage exhibited higher red blood cell status and a positive correlation between iron intake and hemoglobin. An increased serum ferritin level was observed in the control group (P < .001). Nutritional status was improved after intervention in both groups by comparing the indices of weight for age and height for age. However, no difference was observed in the weight for height index in these groups. Energy and nutrient intake increased (P < .001) with intervention, and the prevalence of inadequacy was reduced. The fortified beverage contributed to improved nutrient intake and nutritional status of the preschool children. The higher demand and mobilization of nutrients to offset growth may have contributed to maintain blood parameters at borderline levels.