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The unresolved role of dietary fibers on mineral absorption

Baye, Kaleab, Guyot, Jean-Pierre, Mouquet-Rivier, Claire
Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 2017 v.57 no.5 pp. 949-957
absorption, adverse effects, binding properties, bioavailability, dietary fiber, fermentation, humans, in vitro studies, intestinal absorption, iron, men, minerals, physicochemical properties, polyphenols, rats, synthetic fibers
Dietary fiber is a complex nutritional concept whose definition and method of analysis has evolved over time. However, literature on the role of dietary fiber on mineral bioavailability has not followed pace. Although in vitro studies revealed mineral binding properties, both animal and human studies failed to show negative effects on mineral absorption, and even in some cases reported absorption enhancing properties. The existing literature suggests that dietary fibers have negative effects on mineral absorption in the gastrointestinal tract largely due to mineral binding or physical entrapment. However, colonic fermentation of dietary fibers may offset this negative effect by liberating bound minerals and promoting colonic absorption. However, existing studies are limited since they did not control for more potent mineral absorption inhibitors such as phytates and polyphenols. Animal studies have mostly been on rats and hence difficult to extrapolate to humans. Human studies have been mostly on healthy young men, who likely to have an adequate store of iron. The use of different types and amounts of fibers (isolated/added) with varying physiological and physicochemical properties makes it difficult to compare results. Future studies can make use of the opportunities offered by enzyme technologies to decipher the role of dietary fibers in mineral bioavailability.