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Iron bioavailability in iron-fortified cereal foods: The contribution of in vitro studies

Diego Quintaes, Késia, Barberá, Reyes, Cilla, Antonio
Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 2017 v.57 no.10 pp. 2028-2041
absorption, baking, bioavailability, breads, cost effectiveness, diet, eating habits, ferrous sulfate, food fortification, food groups, grain foods, grains, heme, humans, in vitro studies, iron, iron compounds, iron deficiency anemia, nutrient deficiencies, wheat flour
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency in humans. Not all dietary ingested iron, heme or nonheme, will be available to absorption and negative imbalance between iron requirements and absorption leads to iron deficiency and/or anemia. The recommended iron values usually are based on the genetic and on diet iron-bioavailability, which can be considered as the principal factor that change among the cultures and influences the distinct levels of recommendation among countries. Dietary changes present practical limitations due to be difficult to change food habits. The iron food fortification is considered more cost effective and economically more attractive than iron supplementation. There are many iron compounds available to be used in iron fortification. Cereals represent a target food group to iron fortification programs due to high consumption and the in vitro studies can be useful to estimate the relative iron bioavailability in large number of products in short time and with a low cost. Wheat flour baked into bread or not was the main product tested in in vitro bioavailability studies and ferrous sulfate was the principal iron compound used in the fortification studies. However, iron bioavailability from ferrous sulfate is lower than from other compounds, such FeNaEDTA or ferric pyrophosphate. The variables level of fortification, storage, level of extraction, baking and also the association or not with other chemical compound seems to influence the results obtained.