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J Nutr. 2004 May;134(5):1077-80.

Dephytinization of a complementary food based on wheat and soy increases zinc, but not copper, apparent absorption in adults.

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Laboratory for Human Nutrition, Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, 8803 Rueschlikon, Switzerland.


Complementary foods based on cereals may contain high amounts of phytic acid, which binds strongly to minerals and trace elements. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of dephytinization of a cereal-based complementary food on zinc and copper apparent absorption in adults. A dephytinized complementary food (<0.03 mg phytic acid/g) and one containing the native phytic acid concentration (4 mg/g) were labeled extrinsically with stable isotopes ((70)Zn and (65)Cu). Apparent zinc and copper absorption was based on fecal excretion of nonabsorbed labels in 9 adults, using a crossover design. Stable isotopes were quantified by thermal ionization MS. Apparent fractional zinc absorption was significantly higher (P = 0.005; Student's paired t test) from the dephytinized complementary food (34.6 +/- 8.0%; mean +/- SD) than from the complementary food with native phytic acid concentration (22.8 +/- 8.8%). Apparent fractional copper absorption did not differ (P = 0.167; 19.7 +/- 5.1% dephytinized vs. 23.7 +/- 8.1% native phytic acid). These results clearly demonstrate the beneficial effect of dephytinization of a complementary food on fractional absorption of zinc but not of copper in adults. The long-term nutritional benefits of dephytinization of complementary foods should be evaluated in young children.

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