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Iron bioavailability from food fortification to precision nutrition. A review

Blanco-Rojo, Ruth, Vaquero, M. Pilar
Innovative food science & emerging technologies 2019 v.51 pp. 126-138
at-risk population, bioavailability, biofortification, coatings, cost effectiveness, eating habits, economic impact, food fortification, foods, genotype, humans, iron, iron deficiency anemia, iron overload, metagenomics, nutrient deficiencies, physical activity, public health
Iron deficiency anaemia is a Worldwide Public Health problem and the fortification of food with iron is the most cost-effective prevention strategy. The correct combination of iron form and food vehicle is crucial, as well as the dietary context of consumption. Combinations of iron with an enhancer of its bioavailability and avoidance of interaction with iron inhibitors are recommended. New iron fortificants, innovative complexes, coatings and nanoparticulates, and biofortification are the main research lines. Ultimately, human assays are necessary before industrial production. In this regard, precision nutrition helps to identify the vulnerable groups that, according to genotype, dietary habits, physical activity and, most recently, metagenomic profile, may benefit from a specific iron-fortified food. This review addresses the modifiers of iron bioavailability and the main aspects to take into account in the development of iron-fortified food to prevent iron deficiency.The potential target population that would benefit from iron-fortified foods is that at risk of iron deficiency. However, there are also segments of population at risk of iron overload. Iron fortification involves complex technological issues, but the economic impact is very high. Research on “omics” sciences delivers scientific results applicable to the design and production of iron-fortified food.