Changes in exhaled volatile organic compounds following iron supplementation in self-reported healthy adults

Rory Stallard 1, Ahmed Tawfike 1, Federico Ricciardi 1, Agnieszka Smolinska 1,3, Liz Thompson 1, Amerjit Kang 1, Kirk Pappan 1, Sarah Bloor 2, Anthony Hobson 2, Max Allsworth 1, Nabeetha Nagalingam 1

1. Owlstone Medical Ltd., Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK, 2. Functional Gut Clinic, Manchester, Greater Manchester, UK, 3. Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Poster PDF

Video presentation


Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) affects more than 1.2 billion people worldwide and is recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the most expensive diseases due to its negative impact on productivity. 

IDA can be treated with oral supplements or IV infusions. However, unabsorbed iron can cause bloating due to production of gases, such as hydrogen and methane. These gases are detectable on exhaled breath. This research aims to explore whether other gases are associated with oral iron supplementation, based on changes in exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after 28 days of iron supplementation. 

Samples were collected from 25 healthy adults, using polyvinylidene difluoride breath bags before and after 28 days of daily iron supplementation. During the collection, samples were taken at four time points following lactulose challenge. This included a baseline sample, allowing each subject to serve as their own control. Subjects also recorded gastrointestinal tract symptoms. 

Data showed significant changes in some VOCs before and after iron supplementation and at various time pts post treatment. Some short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), butanoic, propanoic and acetic acids, significantly increased after 28 days of iron supplementation. Increases in SCFAs have been linked to increased gut health. Overall, the iron supplementation appears to have induced beneficial VOC changes.   




Please sign in to leave a comment.

Didn't find what you were looking for?

New post
Download Complete Guide