Effect of iron status on iron absorption in different habitual meals in young south Indian women.Indian J Med Res 2013; 137(2):324-30IJ
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES
Iron deficiency (ID) affects a large number of women in India. An inverse relationship exists between iron (Fe) status and Fe absorption. Dietary inhibitory and enhancing factors exert a profound influence on bioavailability of Fe. Although the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Fe is based on 8 per cent bioavailability, it is not clear if this holds good for the usual highly inhibitory Indian diet matrix. This study was aimed to determine Fe absorption from several habitually consumed south Indian food and to evaluate the interaction of Fe status with absorption.
Four Fe absorption studies were performed on 60 apparently healthy young women, aged 18-35 years. Based on blood biochemistry, 45 of them were ID and 15 were iron replete (IR). The habitual meals assessed were rice, millet and wheat based meals in the ID subjects and rice based meal alone in the IR subjects. Each subject received the test meal labelled with 3 mg of ⁵⁷Fe and Fe absorption was measured based on erythrocyte incorporation of isotope label 14 days following administration.
Mean fractional Fe absorption from the rice, wheat and millet based meals in the ID subjects were 8.3, 11.2 and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Fe absorption from the rice-based meals was 2.5 per cent in IR subjects.
INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS
Fe absorption is dictated by Fe status from low bioavailability meals. Millet based meals have the lowest bioavailability, while the rice and wheat based meals had moderate to good bioavailability. In millet based meals, it is prudent to consider ways to improve Fe absorption.