Lactoferrin efficacy versus ferrous sulfate in curing iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women

Biometals. 2010 Jun;23(3):411-7. doi: 10.1007/s10534-010-9335-z. Epub 2010 Apr 21.


Iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are the most common iron disorders throughout the world. ID and IDA, particularly caused by increased iron requirements during pregnancy, represent a high risk for preterm delivery, fetal growth retardation, low birth weight, and inferior neonatal health. Oral administration of ferrous sulfate to cure ID and IDA in pregnancy often fails to increase hematological parameters, causes adverse effects and increases inflammation. Recently, we have demonstrated safety and efficacy of oral administration of 30% iron saturated bovine lactoferrin (bLf) in pregnant women suffering from ID and IDA. Oral administration of bLf significantly increases the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, total serum iron and serum ferritin already after 30 days of the treatment. The increasing of hematological values by bLf is related to the decrease of serum IL-6 and the increase of serum hepcidin, detected as prohepcidin, whereas ferrous sulfate increases IL-6 and fails to increase hematological parameters and prohepcidin. bLf is a more effective and safer alternative than ferrous sulfate for treating ID and IDA in pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Ferrous Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Ferrous Compounds / adverse effects
  • Ferrous Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Iron / deficiency*
  • Lactoferrin / administration & dosage
  • Lactoferrin / immunology
  • Lactoferrin / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / drug therapy*


  • Ferrous Compounds
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Iron
  • Lactoferrin