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The Effect of Plant Proteins Derived from Cereals and Legumes on Heme Iron Absorption

Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis. 1 Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Micronutrients Laboratory, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Avda. El Líbano 5524, Casilla 13811, Santiago, Chile
United States Department of Agriculture, Western Human Nutrition Research Center, University of California, 430 W. Health Sciences Drive, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Chile (FAVET), Santa Rosa 11.735, La Pintana, Casilla 2, La Granja, Santiago, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 8977-8986;
Received: 5 August 2015 / Revised: 13 October 2015 / Accepted: 22 October 2015 / Published: 30 October 2015
The aim of this study is to determine the effect of proteins from cereals and legumes on heme iron (Fe) absorption. The absorption of heme Fe without its native globin was measured. Thirty adult females participated in two experimental studies (15 per study). Study I focused on the effects of cereal proteins (zein, gliadin and glutelin) and study II on the effects of legume proteins (soy, pea and lentil) on heme Fe absorption. When heme was given alone (as a control), study I and II yielded 6.2% and 11.0% heme absorption (p > 0.05). In study I, heme Fe absorption was 7.2%, 7.5% and 5.9% when zein, gliadin and glutelin were added, respectively. From this, it was concluded that cereal proteins did not affect heme Fe absorption. In study II, heme Fe absorption was 7.3%, 8.1% and 9.1% with the addition of soy, pea and lentil proteins, respectively. Only soy proteins decreased heme Fe absorption (p < 0.05). These results suggest that with the exception of soy proteins, which decreased absorption, proteins derived from cereals and legumes do not affect heme Fe absorption. View Full-Text
Keywords: heme iron; plant protein; iron absorption; human heme iron; plant protein; iron absorption; human
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Weinborn, V.; Pizarro, F.; Olivares, M.; Brito, A.; Arredondo, M.; Flores, S.; Valenzuela, C. The Effect of Plant Proteins Derived from Cereals and Legumes on Heme Iron Absorption. Nutrients 2015, 7, 8977-8986.

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