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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001;15(4):237-41.

Inhibition of zinc absorption by iron depends on their ratio.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie Digestive et Nutritionnelle, CHU de Caen, France.


Previous studies upon zinc-iron interactions gave conflicting results that could come from differences in protocol design or in trace element status of subjects. The present work assessed the influence of zinc : iron ratio and iron deficiency upon zinc absorption. The digestive absorption of zinc sulphate (100 micromol Zn/l) in presence of iron gluconate was studied in perfused jejunal loops (n = 6/group) of normal rats (range 0-1000 micromol Fe/l) and iron deficient rats (200-750 micromol Fe/l). In normal rats no significant iron inhibition on zinc absorption occurred at Fe:Zn ratio below 2:1. At higher ratios zinc uptake and net absorption decreased significantly (p<0.05). Between 2:1 and 5:1 a dose dependent inhibition of zinc absorption occurred and reached a plateau beyond this ratio. In iron deficient animals no changes in zinc uptake, mucosal retention and absorption compared to normal animals occurred at ratio 2:1. At higher ratios differences were observed at every zinc absorption step except for mucosal retention at 7.5:1 ratio. Iron-zinc interactions depend on their ratio and on previous trace elements status of subjects. Due to the wide and unknown variations that were likely to occur between the subjects of previous human and experimental studies, these results could explain some of the discrepancies between their results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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