Minami J.
Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan

Anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells (RBC) to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. Although there are many types of anemia, which have different causes, iron deficiency anemia is the most common form. In an animal experiment using pregnant rat, supplementation of Bifidobacterium longum BB536 was showed to increase RBC and hemoglobin (Hb) levels. In addition, BB536 supplements suppressed the decrease of RBC and Hb levels in patients undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal diseases. Thus, administration of B. longum BB536 has a potential to effect RBCs’ productions. In this study, we evaluated the effect of oral B. longum BB536 supplements on Hb levels in adult women with mild anemia.

Thirty-six young adult women with hemoglobin levels less than 13 g/dl were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial, and they were randomly allocated to receive either probiotic capsules or placebo capsules for 8 weeks. Subjects in the probiotic group received two capsules per day that contained 1.0 × 10^10 colony-forming units of probiotic B. longum BB536. At baseline and 4, 8 weeks after supplementations, Hb, RBC, serum ferritin and the other anemia related blood parameters together with dietary investigation (FFQ) were assessed. A comparison of treatment groups was performed by analysis of covariance at week 8 adjusted for baseline values.

The effectiveness of administrating probiotics on anemia improvement was evaluated with 29 subjects (probiotics n=15, placebo n=14). In the probiotics group, Hb and RBC levels were significantly increased compared to baseline (p=0.04 and p=0.01, respectively), and Hb levels tends to be higher in the probiotics group compared with the placebo group (p=0.07). In correlation analysis, the change of blood folate values showed positive correlation with the change of Hb values (r=0.492, p=0.06). In subpopulation analysis with subjects whose baseline Hb levels ranging 12 to 12.9 g/dl (probiotics n=11, placebo n=13), the Hb levels of the probiotics group were significantly higher compared with the placebo group after 8 weeks intervention (probiotics: 13.3, placebo: 12.6; p=0.03). In this study, average intake of nutrition did not differ between groups based on dietary investigation.

Although we did not observed significant inter-group differences, probiotic group showed significant increase of Hb and RBC levels after 8 weeks intervention. Besides, B. longum BB536 supplements ameliorated the blood Hb levels in the subject with mild anemia (Hb level 12 to 12.9 g/dl). It was reported that administration of B. longum BB536 increased fecal folate concentration and blood hemoglobin level in an animal experiment using germ free mice. In this study, we observed a weak positive correlation with the change of blood folate level and the change of Hb values (r=0.492, p=0.06), therefore supplementation of B. longum BB536 might have a potential to increase blood Hb level via folate supply especially for mild anemia women. Further investigation with large number of subjects is needed to confirm the efficacy of probiotics on improving anemia and to reveal the mechanisms.

Bifidobacterium, Probiotic, Anemia, Randomized controlled trial, Hemoglobin , Probiotic capsules

Minami J. (2016). Effects of Bifidobacterium supplementation on mild anemia women in a randomized controlled trial. Conference Proceedings of IPC2016. Paper presented at the International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics, Budapest (p. 47.). IPC2016

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