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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(10):1064-76. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2012.742860.

EURRECA-Estimating iron requirements for deriving dietary reference values.

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Norwich Medical School, Norwich Research Park, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.


Currently, a factorial approach is used to derive reference values for iron. Calculations include the use of a bioavailability factor to convert the physiological requirement, derived from obligatory losses and requirements for growth and development, into a dietary intake value. A series of systematic reviews undertaken by the EURRECA Network of Excellence aimed to identify data that may increase the accuracy of factorial calculations across all population groups. The selection of robust data was guided by the use of standardized review methodology and the evidence-based selection of status biomarkers and dietary intake assessment techniques. Results corroborated the dearth of relevant factorial data, including whole-diet bioavailability data, and confirmed the need to continue extrapolating physiological requirements across population groups. Data were also unavailable that would allow reference values to be based on selected health outcomes associated with iron intake or status. Ideally, a series of observational and randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies need to be undertaken across all population groups and life stages to generate robust data for setting dietary reference values for iron. It will also be essential to include information on polymorphisms that potentially influence iron absorption and status in the derivation process.

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