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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;81(3):637-47.

Longitudinal measurements of zinc absorption in Peruvian children consuming wheat products fortified with iron only or iron and 1 of 2 amounts of zinc.

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Program in International Nutrition and the Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.



Information is needed on the fractional absorption of zinc (FAZ) and absorbed zinc (AZ) during prolonged exposure to zinc-fortified foods.


The objective was to measure FAZ and AZ from diets fortified with different amounts of zinc and to determine whether zinc absorption changes over approximately 7 wk.


Forty-one stunted, moderately anemic children received daily, at breakfast and lunch, 100 g wheat products fortified with 3 mg Fe (ferrous sulfate) and 0 (group Zn-0), 3 (group Zn-3), or 9 (group Zn-9) mg Zn (zinc sulfate) per 100 g flour. FAZ was measured on days 2-3 and 51-52; meal-specific AZs were calculated as the product of FAZ and zinc intake.


For the breakfast and lunch meals combined, mean total zinc intakes were 2.14, 4.72, and 10.04 mg/d in groups Zn-0, Zn-3, and Zn-9, respectively, during the initial absorption studies; mean (+/-SD) FAZ values were 0.341 +/- 0.111, 0.237 +/- 0.052, and 0.133 +/- 0.041, respectively, on days 2-3 (P < 0.001) and did not change significantly on days 51-52 in the subset of 31 children studied twice. Mean initial AZ was positively related to zinc intake (0.71 +/- 0.18, 1.11 +/- 0.21, and 1.34 +/- 0.47 mg/d, respectively; P < 0.001); final values did not differ significantly from the initial values.


AZ from meals containing zinc-fortified wheat products increases in young children relative to the level of fortification and changes only slightly during approximately 7-wk periods of consumption. Although consumption of zinc-fortified foods may reduce FAZ, zinc fortification at the levels studied positively affects total daily zinc absorption, even after nearly 2 mo of exposure to zinc-fortified diets.

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