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Centre for Global Child Health

Prenatal Sprinkles

Dr. Daniel Roth, Staff Physician in the Division of Paediatric Medicine

Calcium and iron supplements improve the health of pregnant women and newborns in low-income settings in Africa and South Asia. Yet, giving calcium supplements during pregnancy is challenging because tablets are bulky and must be consumed multiple times per day, and calcium prevents iron absorption when the two nutrients are given at the same time.  

A team of researchers at SickKids, including Drs. Daniel Roth, Stan Zlotkin, and Diego Bassani, are leading an international collaboration to address these technical barriers to calcium supplementation in low-resource settings. Their idea is to apply techniques used in the pharmaceutical industry to encapsulate iron and calcium in special dissolvable coatings that will enable the two nutrients to be absorbed in different parts of the bowel. Combined in a powdered formulation called "Prenatal Sprinkles," this innovation is designed to enable the incorporation of both iron and calcium supplements into routine prenatal care in low-resource, rural settings.