Efficacy of processed amaranth-containing bread compared to maize bread on hemoglobin, anemia and iron deficiency anemia prevalence among two-to-five year-old anemic children in Southern Ethiopia: A cluster randomized controlled trial
Few studies have evaluated iron-rich plant-based foods, such as amaranth grain, to reduce anemia and iron deficiency anemia. Amaranth is rich in nutrients, but with high level of phytate. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the efficacy of home processed amaranth grain containing bread in the treatment of anemia, hemoglobin concentration and iron deficiency anemia among two-to-five year-old children in Southern Ethiopia. Children with anemia (hemoglobin concentration <110.0g/L) (N =
... <110.0g/L) (N = 100) were identified by random sampling and enrolled in a 1:1 cluster randomized controlled trial for six months in 2017. The amaranth group (N = 50), received 150g bread containing 70% amaranth and 30% chickpea, the amaranth grain was processed at home (soaking, germinating, and fermenting) to decrease the phytate level. The maize group (N = 50), received 150g bread, containing processed maize (roasted and fermented) to give a similar color and structure with amaranth bread. Hemoglobin, ferritin, and CRP were measured at baseline and at the end of intervention. Hemoglobin and ferritin values were adjusted for altitude and infection, respectively. Generalized estimating equation and generalized linear model were used to analyze the data. In the last follow-up measure anemia prevalence was significantly lower in the amaranth group (32%) as compared with the maize group (56%) [adjusted risk ratios, aRR: 0.39 (95%CI: 0.16-0.77)]. Hemoglobin concentration estimate of beta coefficient was significantly higher in the amaranth group compared with the maize group [aβ 8.9g/L (95%CI: 3.5-14.3)], p-value <0.01. The risk of iron deficiency anemia is significantly lower in the amaranth group [aRR: 0.44 (95%CI: 0.23-0.83)] in the intention to treat analysis but not significant in the complete case analysis. There was no significant difference between groups in iron deficiency [aRR: 0.81 (95%CI: 0.55-1.19)]. Processed amaranth bread had favorable effects on hemoglobin concentration and has the potential to minimize anemia prevalence. Trial registry number: PACTR201705002283263 https://pactr.samrc.ac.za/TrialDisplay.aspx?TrialID=2283.