How a healthy digestive system can help increase iron absorption and support bone health

Here’s how probiotics* can help address two common health concerns – iron absorption and bone health

Studies have found that probiotics* can also help increase iron absorption and support bone health. PHOTO: 123RF

Many people are familiar with the use of probiotics to improve gut health and support the immune system. What is not so well known is that recent innovative research have shown that certain probiotic* strains can also help increase iron absorption and support bone health.

Probiotics are live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host1.

Probiotics* that can provide functional benefits, in this case increasing iron absorption2, 16, 17 and supporting bone health3, is still a very new concept in Singapore. 

Probi AB is a Swedish biotechnology company and supplier of the probiotic ingredients to Probi® by DKSH, created probiotic* supplements Probi® Iron+ for increased iron absorption and Probi® Bone Health for bone health support. 

“Scientists have found that the use of specific probiotic strains – in this case Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V) in Probi® Iron+ can increase iron absorption2, 16, 17 and a mix of three probiotic strains – Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19 and Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL9 (HEAL9) in Probi® Bone Health – can provide a new and innovative way to support bone health3” said Dr Caroline Montelius, Science Manager at Probi AB. 

Probi AB holds the patent for LP299V, an extensively documented Lactobacillus plantarum strain.   

As women may be more vulnerable to low iron levels in the body, consuming Probi® Iron+ can help increase absorption of iron from food. PHOTO: 123RF

Enabling the body to absorb more iron

Not all of the iron we consume from food is absorbed by the body7. But taking too much iron can thereby cause side effects such as stomach upsets and constipation8.   

“The LP299V strain in Probi® Iron+ increases the actual absorption of iron that we consume from food2, 16^. Based on research involving 24 participants, up to 80 per cent more non-haem iron from a phytate-rich meal can be absorbed compared to without the probiotic strain. If added together with iron-containing food or supplements, it will increase the total amount of non-haem iron absorbed2. At the same time, the LP299V strain is found to improve gut health and promotes a healthy gut microbiota” said Dr Montelius of Probi AB.

Probi® Iron+ contains LP299V™, Iron, Vitamin C and Folic acid. PHOTO: PROBI® by DKSH

As women may be more vulnerable to low iron levels in the body, Probi® by DKSH recommends that women 18 years and above consume Probi® Iron+ to help with the absorption of iron from food. The inclusion of iron, vitamin C and folic acid, with LP299V, present in Probi® Iron+ together help to boost iron intake and uptake2, 16, 17.  

Probiotic to support bone health 

The bone remodelling process involves bone tissue being continuously broken down and rebuilt9. In most people under the age of 30, this bone remodelling process follows a predictable, balanced pattern.

After the age of 30, bone tissue breakdown outstrips the formation of new bones, resulting in a gradual loss of bone density and bone mass.

Bone loss is coupled mainly to ageing, with a continuous decrease in bone mass after the age of 40 which affects both men and women13.

Females’ estrogen levels decline before and during the first six to 10 years after menopause, causing a sharp acceleration in bone loss12.

Caption: Probi® Bone Health is made of a mix of the three probiotic strains and vitamin D. PHOTO: PROBI® by DKSH

Consuming calcium and vitamin D are crucial for bone formation14, but will not have an effect on decreasing bone loss. Supplementation exceeding the adequate dietary levels are therefore not recommended15

“Probi® Bone Health uses a different route compared to the conventional bone-strengthening supplements. It has been shown to reduce the loss of bone mineral density in postmenopausal women3, whereas vitamin D and calcium are crucial for the formation of bones,” said Dr Montelius of Probi AB.

Each capsule of Probi® Bone Health, with its mix of the three probiotic strains and vitamin D, has been clinically shown to help to reduce the loss of bone mineral in postmenopausal women3.

Probi® by DKSH recommends that women consume this product from 40 years and beyond to help support and maintain healthy bones. 

Probi® Iron+ and Probi® Bone Health, each priced at $49.90 for a bottle of 30 capsules, are brought to the market by Probi® by DKSH and available at select Watsons stores, Shopee, Lazada, Amazon, and Redmart. 

Visit for more information. 

This article provides general information only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult medical or healthcare professionals for advice on health-related matters.

*Probiotics in Probi® Iron+ refers to Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v
Probiotics in Probi® Bone Health refers to Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL9™, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19 and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2

^Individual response may vary
Citations and phrases by Probi AB are not to be considered health claims.



1 WHO (2001) Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria.

2 Bering et al., 2006
A lactic acid-fermented oat gruel increases non-haem iron absorption from a phytate-rich meal in healthy women of childbearing age rich meal in healthy women of childbearing age in 24 participants.
Based on percentage calculation of Mean values comparing with pasteurised fermented oat gruel.

3 Jansson et al., 2019
Probiotic treatment using a mix of three Lactobacillus strains for lumbar spine bone loss in postmenopausal women

4 Hills et al., 2019
Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease

5 WHO: Micronutrient deficiencies

6 Osteoporosis: What You Need to Know as You Age

7 ACS Omega 2022
Iron Absorption: Factors, Limitations, and Improvement Methods

8 Iron Supplements - Side Effects

9 Sözen et al., 2016
An overview and management of osteoporosis

10 International Osteoporosis Foundation

11 Alswat 2017
Gender Disparities in Osteoporosis

12 Endocrine Society."Menopause and Bone Loss | Endocrine Society."

13 Björnsdottir et al., 2022
Male osteoporosis-what are the causes, diagnostic challenges, and management

14 International Osteoporosis Foundation

15 US preventative task force, JAMA
Vitamin D, Calcium, or Combined Supplementation for the Primary Prevention of Fractures in Community-Dwelling Adults

16 Axling et al., 2021
The effect of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum 299v together with a low dose of iron on iron status in healthy pregnant women: A randomized clinical trial

17 Axling et al., 2020
The Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on Iron Status and Physical Performance in Female Iron-Deficient Athletes


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