Absorption from iron tablets given with different types of meals.Scand J Haematol. 1978 Sep; 21(3):215-24.SJ
The absorption of iron from tablets given with 5 types of meals was studied in 153 subjects. The meals were: a hamburger meal with beans and potatoes, a simple breakfast meal, a Latin American meal composed of black beans, rice and maize and two Southeast Asian meals composed of rice, vegetables and spices served with and without fish. The groups were directly compared by relating the absorption from the iron tablets to the absorption from a standardized reference dose of iron given on an empty stomach. The composition of meals with respect to content of meat or fish or the presence of large amounts of phytates seemed to have no influence on the absorption of iron from tablets. The absorption from iron tablets was about 40% higher when they were given with rice meals than when they were given with the other meals studied. The average decrease in absorption by meals was about 50-60% based on a comparison when tablets were given on an empty stomach. When tablets from which the iron was released more slowly were used, the absorption increased by about 30% except when they were given with rice meals, where the absorption was unchanged. The differences among the meals in their effect on the absorption of iron from tablets thus disappeared when the slow-release tablets were given.