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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: In vitro estimates of iron bioavailability in some Kenyan complementary foods

Authors
item Lung'aho, Mercy - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Glahn, Raymond

Submitted to: Food and Nutrition Bulletin
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 12, 2009
Publication Date: June 15, 2009
Citation: Lung'Aho, M.G., Glahn, R.P. 2009. In vitro estimates of iron bioavailability in some Kenyan complementary foods. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 30(2):145-152.

Interpretive Summary: Iron deficiency anemia is an important public health problem in developing countries. The high prevalence in children - especially those in developing countries such as Kenya - is attributed to an inadequate intake of dietary iron. Our lab has developed a model for studying mineral absorption from different foods and food combinations. Food samples undergo a simulated digestion and are placed over Caco-2 cells, which act as a mimic of the intestinal lining. The main objective in this study was to use our model to predict iron uptake from foods and to assess the amount of bioavailable iron from Kenyan complementary foods. According to the data, the addition of cassava significantly increased the iron uptake in a cereal-based home recipe from 36.74ng/mg to 67.58ng/mg. When compared to commercially available non-fortified porridge recipes, it was evident that home recipes can be just as good or even better than some commercial products, indicating that home recipes have the potential to provide sufficient iron. However, when compared to a fortified commercially available complementary food it was clear that the non-fortified recipes provided less iron. Therefore, more than diet diversity is required to improve iron bioavailability from these foods.

Technical Abstract: Iron deficiency anemia is by far the most widespread micronutrient deficiency disease in the world, affecting more than 2 billion people. Although there are multiple causes of anemia, its high prevalence in children - especially those in developing countries such as Kenya - is attributed to an inadequate intake of dietary iron. The main objective in this study was to use an in-vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell culture model to assess the amount of bioavailable iron from Kenyan complementary foods. According to the data, the addition of cassava significantly increased the amount of ferritin formation in a cereal-based home recipe from 36.74ng/mg to 67.58ng/mg. When compared to commercially available non-fortified porridge recipes, it was evident that home recipes can be just as good as or even better than some commercial products, indicating that home recipes have the potential to provide sufficient iron. However, when compared to Cerelac- a fortified commercially available complementary food that provides about 26% of the RDA for iron for infants 6-7 months per serving- it was clear that the non-fortified recipes had less bioavailable iron. Therefore, more than diet diversity is required to improve iron bioavailability from these foods.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014
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