Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of concern in pregnancies worldwide as it can impede fetal development, leading to premature birth and therefore low birth weight and potentially adverse health outcome of the neonate. This study enrolled 300 women at different trimesters and orally administered ferrous sulfate (520mg/day) or 30% iron-saturated bovine lactoferrin (bLf;100mg, twice daily). The serum iron and hemoglobin levels measured after 30 days of administration were higher in those administered the bLf supplement whereas these levels were decreased in the control group. There were no side effects associated with bLf, unlike those found with ferrous sulfate. Thus lactoferrin may affect iron homeostasis.
Pregnant women are at an increase risk of iron-deficiency as the developing fetus and placenta require iron. Hence, iron supplementation is recommended during pregnancy. However, bLF which had a lower iron content than ferrous-sulfate appeared to be more effective in preventing iron deficiency.
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Paesano, R., et al., Oral administration of lactoferrin increases hemoglobin and total serum iron in pregnant women. Biochem Cell Biol, 2006. 84(3): p. 377-80.