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Article

Reducing Iron Content in Infant Formula from 8 to 2 mg/L Does Not Increase the Risk of Iron Deficiency at 4 or 6 Months of Age: A Randomized Controlled Trial

1
Department of Clinical Sciences, Pediatrics, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2
Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
3
Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010003
Received: 27 November 2020 / Revised: 10 December 2020 / Accepted: 17 December 2020 / Published: 22 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Iron for Human Health)
Many infant formulas are fortified with iron at 8–14 mg/L whereas breast milk contains about 0.3 mg/L. Another major difference between breast milk and infant formula is its high concentration of lactoferrin, a bioactive iron-binding protein. The aim of the present study was to investigate how reducing the iron content and adding bovine lactoferrin to infant formula affects iron status, health and development. Swedish healthy full-term formula-fed infants (n = 180) were randomized in a double-blind controlled trial. From 6 weeks to 6 months of age, 72 infants received low-iron formula (2 mg/L) fortified with bovine lactoferrin (1.0 g/L) (Lf+), 72 received low-iron formula un-fortified with lactoferrin (Lf−) and 36 received standard formula with 8 mg of iron/L and no lactoferrin fortification as controls (CF). Iron status and prevalence of iron deficiency (ID) were assessed at 4 and 6 months. All iron status indicators were unaffected by lactoferrin. At 4 and 6 months, the geometric means of ferritin for the combined low-iron groups compared to the CF-group were 67.7 vs. 88.7 and 39.5 vs. 50.9 µg/L, respectively (p = 0.054 and p = 0.056). No significant differences were found for other iron status indicators. In the low-iron group only one infant (0.7%) at 4 months and none at 6 months developed ID. Conclusion: Iron fortification of 2 mg/L is an adequate level during the first half of infancy for healthy term infants in a well-nourished population. Adding lactoferrin does not affect iron status. View Full-Text
Keywords: infants; iron supplementation; iron fortification; infant formula; iron status; iron depletion; iron deficiency; iron deficiency anemia; growth; gastrointestinal symptoms infants; iron supplementation; iron fortification; infant formula; iron status; iron depletion; iron deficiency; iron deficiency anemia; growth; gastrointestinal symptoms
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MDPI and ACS Style

Björmsjö, M.; Hernell, O.; Lönnerdal, B.; Berglund, S.K. Reducing Iron Content in Infant Formula from 8 to 2 mg/L Does Not Increase the Risk of Iron Deficiency at 4 or 6 Months of Age: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2021, 13, 3. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010003

AMA Style

Björmsjö M, Hernell O, Lönnerdal B, Berglund SK. Reducing Iron Content in Infant Formula from 8 to 2 mg/L Does Not Increase the Risk of Iron Deficiency at 4 or 6 Months of Age: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2021; 13(1):3. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010003

Chicago/Turabian Style

Björmsjö, Maria, Olle Hernell, Bo Lönnerdal, and Staffan K. Berglund 2021. "Reducing Iron Content in Infant Formula from 8 to 2 mg/L Does Not Increase the Risk of Iron Deficiency at 4 or 6 Months of Age: A Randomized Controlled Trial" Nutrients 13, no. 1: 3. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010003

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