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Synbiotic Supplement May Aid Iron Absorption

Synbiotics are combination supplements that contain both prebiotics and probiotics. A recent study suggests that taking a synbiotic formulation may help with iron absorption in female athletes.


Participants in the study included 20 female recreational athletes who were given either a synbiotic supplement containing 6 grams of purified guar fiber prebiotic and 8 billion CFU of Bifidobacterium lactis and 140 mg of ferrous sulfate or 140 mg of ferrous sulfate and a placebo. All of the participants followed their usual training regimes and the researchers collected information about diet.


At the half way point of the study, the researchers noted a 41% increase in blood serum ferritin — a marker of iron levels — in the supplement group. The placebo group showed no changes. By the end of the study, the supplement group had doubled their iron levels.


Researchers from Marywood University conducted the study. It will be presented in poster form in June 2019 at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual meeting in Boston.


Bifidobacterium lactis is a probiotic strain that produces lactic acid. It can be found in dairy products, including yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk. It can also be found in fermented vegetables, such as fermented cabbage, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other pickled vegetables. Guar fiber prebiotic is most often taken in supplement form.

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