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Open AccessArticle

Zinc Absorption from Micronutrient Powder Is Low but Is not Affected by Iron in Kenyan Infants

Moi University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 4606, Eldoret 30100, Kenya
Indiana University School of Medicine, 705 Riley Hospital Drive, Room 5900, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Section of Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2014, 6(12), 5636-5651;
Received: 13 October 2014 / Revised: 6 November 2014 / Accepted: 10 November 2014 / Published: 8 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zinc in Health and Disease)
Interference with zinc absorption is a proposed explanation for adverse effects of supplemental iron in iron-replete children in malaria endemic settings. We examined the effects of iron in micronutrient powder (MNP) on zinc absorption after three months of home fortification with MNP in maize-based diets in rural Kenyan infants. In a double blind design, six-month-old, non-anemic infants were randomized to MNP containing 5 mg zinc, with or without 12.5 mg of iron (MNP + Fe and MNP − Fe, respectively); a control (C) group received placebo powder. After three months, duplicate diet collections and zinc stable isotopes were used to measure intake from MNP + non-breast milk foods and fractional absorption of zinc (FAZ) by dual isotope ratio method; total absorbed zinc (TAZ, mg/day) was calculated from intake × FAZ. Mean (SEM) TAZ was not different between MNP + Fe (n = 10) and MNP − Fe (n = 9) groups: 0.85 (0.22) and 0.72 (0.19), respectively, but both were higher than C (n = 9): 0.24 (0.03) (p = 0.04). Iron in MNP did not significantly alter zinc absorption, but despite intakes over double estimated dietary requirement, both MNP groups’ mean TAZ barely approximated the physiologic requirement for age. Impaired zinc absorption may dictate need for higher zinc doses in vulnerable populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: zinc absorption; micronutrient powders; iron supplementation; malaria; Kenya zinc absorption; micronutrient powders; iron supplementation; malaria; Kenya
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Esamai, F.; Liechty, E.; Ikemeri, J.; Westcott, J.; Kemp, J.; Culbertson, D.; Miller, L.V.; Hambidge, K.M.; Krebs, N.F. Zinc Absorption from Micronutrient Powder Is Low but Is not Affected by Iron in Kenyan Infants. Nutrients 2014, 6, 5636-5651.

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