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Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets.

Abstract

Iron and zinc are currently the trace minerals of greatest concern when considering the nutritional value of vegetarian diets. With elimination of meat and increased intake of phytate-containing legumes and whole grains, the absorption of both iron and zinc is lower with vegetarian than with nonvegetarian, diets. The health consequences of lower iron and zinc bioavailability are not clear, especially in industrialized countries with abundant, varied food supplies, where nutrition and health research has generally supported recommendations to reduce meat and increase legume and whole-grain consumption. Although it is clear that vegetarians have lower iron stores, adverse health effects from lower iron and zinc absorption have not been demonstrated with varied vegetarian diets in developed countries, and moderately lower iron stores have even been hypothesized to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Premenopausal women cannot easily achieve recommended iron intakes, as modified for vegetarians, with foods alone; however, the benefit of routine iron supplementation has not been demonstrated. It may be prudent to monitor the hemoglobin of vegetarian children and women of childbearing age. Improved assessment methods are required to determine whether vegetarians are at risk of zinc deficiency. In contrast with iron and zinc, elements such as copper appear to be adequately provided by vegetarian diets. Although the iron and zinc deficiencies commonly associated with plant-based diets in impoverished nations are not associated with vegetarian diets in wealthier countries, these nutrients warrant attention as nutritional assessment methods become more sensitive and plant-based diets receive greater emphasis.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA. jhunt@gfhnrc.ars.usda.gov

    Source

    The American journal of clinical nutrition 78:3 Suppl 2003 09 pg 633S-639S

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adult
    Biological Availability
    Case-Control Studies
    Child
    Diet, Vegetarian
    Female
    Humans
    Intestinal Absorption
    Iron
    Male
    Middle Aged
    Trace Elements
    Zinc

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    12936958

    Citation

    Hunt, Janet R.. "Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc, and Other Trace Minerals From Vegetarian Diets." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 78, no. 3 Suppl, 2003, 633S-639S.
    Hunt JR. Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):633S-639S.
    Hunt, J. R. (2003). Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78(3 Suppl), 633S-639S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/78.3.633S.
    Hunt JR. Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc, and Other Trace Minerals From Vegetarian Diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):633S-639S. PubMed PMID: 12936958.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. A1 - Hunt,Janet R, PY - 2003/8/26/pubmed PY - 2003/9/17/medline PY - 2003/8/26/entrez SP - 633S EP - 639S JF - The American journal of clinical nutrition JO - Am. J. Clin. Nutr. VL - 78 IS - 3 Suppl N2 - Iron and zinc are currently the trace minerals of greatest concern when considering the nutritional value of vegetarian diets. With elimination of meat and increased intake of phytate-containing legumes and whole grains, the absorption of both iron and zinc is lower with vegetarian than with nonvegetarian, diets. The health consequences of lower iron and zinc bioavailability are not clear, especially in industrialized countries with abundant, varied food supplies, where nutrition and health research has generally supported recommendations to reduce meat and increase legume and whole-grain consumption. Although it is clear that vegetarians have lower iron stores, adverse health effects from lower iron and zinc absorption have not been demonstrated with varied vegetarian diets in developed countries, and moderately lower iron stores have even been hypothesized to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Premenopausal women cannot easily achieve recommended iron intakes, as modified for vegetarians, with foods alone; however, the benefit of routine iron supplementation has not been demonstrated. It may be prudent to monitor the hemoglobin of vegetarian children and women of childbearing age. Improved assessment methods are required to determine whether vegetarians are at risk of zinc deficiency. In contrast with iron and zinc, elements such as copper appear to be adequately provided by vegetarian diets. Although the iron and zinc deficiencies commonly associated with plant-based diets in impoverished nations are not associated with vegetarian diets in wealthier countries, these nutrients warrant attention as nutritional assessment methods become more sensitive and plant-based diets receive greater emphasis. SN - 0002-9165 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/12936958/full_citation L2 - https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ajcn/78.3.633S DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -