Adaptation of iron absorption in men consuming diets with high or low iron bioavailability.Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan; 71(1):94-102.AJ
Short-term measurements of iron absorption are substantially influenced by dietary bioavailability of iron, yet bioavailability negligibly affects serum ferritin in longer, controlled trials.
Our objective was to test the hypothesis that in men fed diets with high or low iron bioavailability, iron absorption adapts to homeostatically maintain body iron stores.
Heme- and nonheme-iron absorption from whole diets were measured in 31 healthy men at 0 and 10 wk while the men consumed weighed, 2-d repeating diets with either high or low iron bioavailability for 12 wk. The diets with high and low iron bioavailability contained, respectively, 14.4 and 15.3 mg nonheme Fe/d and 1.8 and 0.1 mg heme Fe/d and had different contents of meat, ascorbic acid, whole grains, legumes, and tea.
Adaptation occurred with nonheme- but not with heme-iron absorption. Total iron absorption decreased from 0.96 to 0.69 mg/d (P < 0.05) and increased from 0.12 to 0.17 mg/d (P < 0.05) after 10 wk of the high- and low-bioavailability diets, respectively. This partial adaptation reduced the difference in iron bioavailability between the diets from 8- to 4-fold. Serum ferritin was insensitive to diet but fecal ferritin was substantially lower with the low- than the high-bioavailability diet. Erythrocyte incorporation of absorbed iron was inversely associated with serum ferritin.
Iron-replete men partially adapted to dietary iron bioavailability and iron absorption from a high-bioavailability diet was reduced to approximately 0.7 mg Fe/d. Short-term measurements of absorption overestimate differences in iron bioavailability between diets.