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Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2007 May;77(3):174-81.

Zinc bioavailability from zinc-fortified foods.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA


Zinc fortification is considered a potentially useful strategy for the control of zinc deficiency, but the success of such intervention programs depends on the population's access to and consumption of zinc-fortified foods and adequate absorption of zinc from these foods. The latter issue has been assessed by a variety of studies that applied zinc isotopic tracers to assess zinc uptake from zinc-fortified foods. These studies show that the additional zinc provided by zinc fortification decreases fractional absorption of zinc, but increases total zinc absorption from these foods. Available studies show no significant difference in zinc absorption from foods fortified with either zinc oxide or zinc sulfate, which are the two cheapest chemical forms of zinc that are generally recognized as safe for human consumption. It appears that high-phytate meals depress zinc absorption from zinc-fortified foods, although total zinc absorption from such foods is still likely to be greater than if the foods were not fortified with zinc. With the possible exception of Na2EDTA, putative enhancers of zinc absorption do not seem to confer major benefits for zinc absorption from zinc-fortified foods. There is little information on the effect of fortification with other micronutrients on zinc absorption from co-fortified foods, and zinc fortification does not seem to suppress iron absorption from iron-fortified foods in most studies.

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