Sodium iron EDTA [NaFe(III)EDTA] as a food fortificant: Erythrocyte incorporation of iron and apparent absorption of zinc, copper, calcium, and magnesium from a complementary food based on wheat and soy in healthy infants

Lena Davidsson, Ekhard Ziegler, Christophe Zeder, Thomas Walczyk, Richard Hurrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Phytic acid is a strong inhibitor of iron absorption from fortified foods. In adults, this inhibitory effect can be overcome by adding ascorbic acid with the iron fortificant or by using a "protected" iron compound such as NaFeEDTA. In addition, the use of NaFeEDTA as an iron fortificant has been reported to increase zinc absorption in adult women. No information is available on iron bioavailability from NaFeEDTA or the influence of NaFeEDTA on minerals and trace elements in infants. Objective: We aimed to compare iron bioavailability from a complementary food based on wheat and soy fortified with either NaFeEDTA or ferrous sulfate plus ascorbic acid. The apparent absorption of zinc, copper, calcium, and magnesium was evaluated in parallel. Design: Stable-isotope techniques were used in a crossover design to evaluate erythrocyte incorporation of iron 14 d after administration of labeled test meals and the apparent absorption of zinc, copper, calcium, and magnesium on the basis of fecal monitoring in 11 infants. Results: Geometric mean erythrocyte incorporation of iron was 3.7% (NaFeEDTA) and 4.9% (ferrous sulfate plus ascorbic acid) (P = 0.08). No significant differences in the apparent absorption of zinc, copper, calcium, or magnesium were observed between test meals (n = 10). Conclusions: Iron bioavailability from a high-phytate, cereal-based complementary food fortified with either NaFeEDTA or ferrous sulfate plus ascorbic acid was not significantly different. NaFeEDTA did not influence the apparent absorption of zinc, copper, calcium, or magnesium. NaFeEDTA does not provide any nutritional benefit compared with the combination of a highly bioavailable iron compound and ascorbic acid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume81
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

Keywords

  • Food fortification
  • Infant cereal
  • Iron compound
  • Stable isotopes

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