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Nutrition. 2001 Jan;17(1):46-51.

Calcium supplementation and iron status of females.

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SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, 1500 Littleton Road, Parsippany, NJ 07054-3884, USA.


Iron balance is regulated in part by the level of iron absorption, which is influenced by iron stores and the level of erythropoietic activity. In short-term absorption studies, dietary calcium and supplemental doses of calcium chloride or calcium carbonate inhibited iron absorption from concomitantly consumed meals. In contrast, several long-term intervention studies of the effect of calcium supplementation on iron status in populations at potentially high risk for compromised iron status failed to show reductions in various indicators of iron status including serum ferritin levels. The evidence suggests that long-term consumption of calcium supplements does not affect overall iron status. An adaptive response, possibly involving an upregulation in the efficiency of iron absorption, has been suggested as a possible explanation for the disparity between the results from short- and long-term studies.

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