OBJECTIVES: Iron is an important mineral, essential for the health and function of mammalian cells. Despite its key role, iron deficiency in humans is common worldwide, often leading to significant health issues within the population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of using iron-enriched baker's yeast as a source of iron, especially for the protection and recovery from conditions related to anemia.
METHODS: Iron-enriched yeast was prepared by cultivating cells on basal medium comprising different iron concentrations. The effects of iron supplementation on animal health were assessed by feeding anemic rats with a variety of diets containing either inorganic iron or iron-enriched yeast. Body weight, iron bioavailability, blood parameters, and the activity of iron-containing enzymes (catalase) were studied.
RESULTS: Iron accumulation in yeast cells increased with iron concentration, reaching a maximum of 15 mg/g when 32 mM iron was applied. Rat groups fed iron-enriched yeast had the highest feed efficiency, iron bioavailability, and hemoglobin concentration. The source of iron supplementation influenced catalase activity in kidney tissues, increasing from 70 U/g tissue in anemic rats to 90 U/g tissue (inorganic iron salt), 110 U/g tissue (inorganic iron salt and non-enriched dry yeast), 145 U/g tissue (iron-enriched yeast 15 mg/g iron) and 115 U/g tissue (iron-enriched yeast 30 mg/g iron). The histologic study of tissues from liver, kidney, heart, and spleen of rats from different groups showed that the damage observed in tissues of anemic rats, was not observed after feeding with iron-enriched yeasts.
CONCLUSION: The results demonstrated that ingestion of iron-enriched yeast is more efficient than inorganic treatment in recovery from iron deficiency, including tissue recovery in rats.