Effect of low-iron micronutrient powder (MNP) on the composition of gut microbiota of Bangladeshi children in a high-iron groundwater setting: a randomized controlled trial

Sabuktagin Rahman, Guus A.M. Kortman, Jos Boekhorst, Patricia Lee, Moududur R. Khan, Faruk Ahmed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Adverse effects of iron fortification/supplements such as Micronutrient Powder (MNP) on gut microbiota have previously been found in infection-prone African settings. This study examined the adversaries of a low-iron MNP compared with the standard MNP on the composition of gut microbiota in Bangladeshi children exposed to a high concentration of iron from potable groundwater. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 2- to 5-year-old children, drinking groundwater with a high concentration of iron (≥ 2 mg/L). Children were randomized to receive one sachet per day of either standard MNP (12.5 mg iron) or low-iron MNP (5 mg iron), for 2 months. A sub-sample of 53 children was considered for paired assessment of the gut microbiome by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Results: At baseline, the gut microbiota consisted of Bifidobacteriaceae (15.6%), Prevotellaceae (12.2%), Lactobacillaceae (3.6%), Clostridiaceae (4.1%) and Enterobacteriaceae (2.8%). Overall, there was no significant treatment effect of the low-iron MNP compared to the standard MNP. However, an apparent treatment effect was observed in children with a relative adult-like microbiota, with a higher relative abundance of potentially pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae after receiving the standard MNP compared to the low-iron MNP. This effect, however, was statistically non-significant (p = 0.07). Conclusion: In Bangladeshi children drinking iron-rich groundwater, a low-iron MNP supplementation did not have a significant impact on their gut microbiota profile/composition compared to the standard MNP. The trial registration number is ISRCTN60058115; Date of registration 03/07/2019; retrospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Groundwater iron
  • Gut microbiota
  • Low-iron MNP

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