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J Nutr. 2005 May;135(5):1102-5.

Zinc absorption from zinc oxide, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide + EDTA, or sodium-zinc EDTA does not differ when added as fortificants to maize tortillas.

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Centro de Investigación en Nutrición y Salud, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.


The fortification of staple foods with zinc may play an important role in achieving adequate zinc intakes in countries at risk of zinc deficiency. However, little is known about the relative bioavailability of different zinc compounds that may be used in food fortification. The objective of this study was to measure and compare fractional zinc absorption from a test meal that included a maize tortilla fortified with zinc oxide, zinc sulfate, zinc oxide + EDTA, or sodium-zinc EDTA. A double isotopic tracer ratio method ((67)Zn as oral tracer and (70)Zn as intravenous tracer) was used to estimate zinc absorption in 42 Mexican women living in a periurban community of Puebla State, Mexico. The test meal consisted of maize tortillas, yellow beans, chili sauce, and milk with instant coffee; it contained 3.3 mg zinc and had a phytate:zinc molar ratio of 17. Fractional zinc absorption did not differ significantly between the test groups (ANOVA; P > 0.05). Percent absorptions were (mean +/- SD) zinc oxide, 10.8 +/- 0.9; zinc sulfate, 10.0 +/- 0.02; zinc oxide + EDTA, 12.7 +/- 1.5; and sodium-zinc EDTA, 11.1 +/- 0.7. We conclude that there was no difference in zinc absorption from ZnO and ZnSO(4) when added as fortificants to maize tortillas and consumed with beans and milk. The addition of EDTA with zinc oxide or the use of prechelated sodium-zinc EDTA as fortificants did not result in higher zinc absorption from the test meal.

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