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Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Jan;41(1):13-20.

Soy protein products and heme iron absorption in humans.


Dual radioiron tags were used to measure both heme and nonheme iron absorption simultaneously from meat-containing meals in 76 healthy male volunteers. Partial substitution of beef with soy flour reduced the availability of nonheme iron but improved the percentage absorption of heme iron significantly (27 to 59% rise). In contradistinction three other powerful inhibitors of nonheme iron absorption, bran, tea, and desferrioxamine, had no appreciable effect on heme. Ascorbic acid (100 mg and 1000 mg in separate experiments) improved nonheme iron uptake markedly but also failed to alter the assimilation of heme. These studies demonstrate that the deleterious effects on iron nutrition of substituting soy protein for beef are partially offset by improved availability of the remaining heme iron as well as by an increase in the nonheme iron content of the meal.

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