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Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Jun;34(6):1042-8.

The iron and zinc status of long-term vegetarian women.


Iron and zinc status of 56 Seventh-Day Adventist Canadian women (mean age 52.9 +/- 15.3 yr) following vegetarian diets for 19 +/- 17 yr were investigated. Energy, protein, iron, available iron, zinc, and total dietary fiber intakes were calculated from 3-day dietary records. Hemoglobin, serum iron, total iron binding capacity, serum and hair zinc concentrations were also determined. Plant products provided 92 and 77% of the total dietary iron and zinc intakes, respectively. Calculated mean daily intakes (+/- SD) for energy, protein, iron, zinc, and total dietary fiber were 1630 +/- 354 kcal, 58 +/- 14 g, 12.5 +/- 3.0 mg, 9.2 +/- 2.5 mg, and 30.9 +/- 11.0 g, respectively. Mean hemoglobin (13.1 +/- 1.0 g/dl), calculated serum transferrin saturation (37.5 +/- 12.9%), mean serum zinc (99 +/- 24 microgram/dl), and hair zinc concentrations (187 +/- 44 ppm) were all within the normal range. The iron and zinc status of these long-term Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarian women appeared adequate despite their low intake of readily absorbed iron and zinc from flesh foods and their high intake of total dietary fiber and phytate.

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