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Studies on iron availability in man, using stable isotope techniques

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Susan J. Fairweather-Tait
AFRC Food Research Institute Norwich, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UA
Margaret J. Minski
Imperial College Reactor Centre, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY
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1. Iron absorption from 10 mg Fe (as ferrous sulphate), labelled with 1.3 mg 58Fe, was measured in fasting, non-anaemic adult subjects by the faecal-balance technique. The measurement was performed twice, each subject being given, in random order, either 50 mg Fe or a placebo 18 h before the 58Fe-labelled FeSO4.

2. The 50 mg Fe load significantly reduced Fe absorption the following day (P < 0.01), from a mean of 35.4 (SEM 4.6)% to 29.0 (SEM 5.1)%. This points to the importance of strict dietary control during Fe-absorption studies to eliminate bias in results.

3. In a separate study, the feasibility of using S6Fe-enrichment of erythrocytes, measured by neutron activation analysis (NAA), 10 d after a meal labelled with 0.69 mg 58Fe as an index of Fe absorption was examined. The levels of 58Fe in the blood were detectable by NAA. Regression analysis showed a significant relation between 58Fe-enrichment of blood and 58Fe absorption, calculated as the difference between intake and faecal excretion (R 0.59, P < 0.05).

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