|dc.description.abstract||Background: Whether consumption of prebiotics increases iron
absorption in infants is unclear.
Objective: We set out to determine whether prebiotic consumption
affects iron absorption from a micronutrient powder (MNP) containing
a mixture of ferrous fumarate and sodium iron EDTA (FeFum+
NaFeEDTA) in Kenyan infants.
Design: Infants (n = 50; aged 6–14 mo) consumed maize porridge
that was fortified with an MNP containing FeFum+NaFeEDTA and
7.5 g galacto-oligosaccharides (GOSs) (Fe+GOS group, n = 22) or
the same MNP without GOSs (Fe group, n = 28) each day for 3 wk.
Then, on 2 consecutive days, we fed all infants isotopically labeled maize
porridge and MNP test meals containing 5 mg Fe as 57FeFum+Na58
FeEDTA or ferrous sulfate (54FeSO4). Iron absorption was measured as
the erythrocyte incorporation of stable isotopes. Iron markers, fecal
pH, and bacterial groups were assessed at baseline and 3 wk. Com parisons within and between groups were done with the use of mixed effects models.
Results: There was a significant group-by-compound interaction on
iron absorption (P = 0.011). The median percentages of fractional
iron absorption from FeFum+NaFeEDTA and from FeSO4 in the
Fe group were 11.6% (IQR: 6.9–19.9%) and 20.3% (IQR: 14.2–
25.7%), respectively, (P , 0.001) and, in the Fe+GOS group, were
18.8% (IQR: 8.3–37.5%) and 25.5% (IQR: 15.1–37.8%), respec tively (P = 0.124). Between groups, iron absorption was greater
from the FeFum+NaFeEDTA (P = 0.047) in the Fe+GOS group
but not from the FeSO4 (P = 0.653). The relative iron bioavailability
from FeFum+NaFeEDTA compared with FeSO4 was higher in the
Fe+GOS group than in the Fe group (88% compared with 63%;
P = 0.006). There was a significant time-by-group interaction on Bifido bacterium spp. (P = 0.008) and Lactobacillus/Pediococcus/Leuconostoc
spp. (P = 0.018); Lactobacillus/Pediococcus/Leuconostoc spp. decreased
in the Fe group (P = 0.013), and there was a nonsignificant trend
toward higher Bifidobacterium spp. in the Fe+GOS group (P = 0.099).
At 3 wk, iron absorption was negatively correlated with fecal pH
(P , 0.001) and positively correlated with Lactobacillus/Pediococcus/
Leuconostoc spp. (P = 0.001).
Conclusion: GOS consumption by nfants increased iron absorption
by 62% from an MNP containing FeFum+NaFeEDTA, thereby
possibly reflecting greater colonic iron absorption. This trial was
registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02666417. Am J Clin Nutr