Bioavailability of iron glycine as a fortificant in infant foods

T E Fox, J Eagles, S J Fairweather-Tait

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The bioavailability of iron glycine added to a vegetable infant weaning food was compared with ferrous sulfate. Stable, isotopically labeled compounds (57Fe or 58Fe) were mixed into the midday meal (1.4 mg added Fe/serving) and fed to 9-mo-old infants on alternate days for 8 d. Bioavailability, expressed as a percentage of the dose consumed, was measured from isotopic enrichment of hemoglobin 14 d after the last test meal. There was no difference between iron glycine and ferrous sulfate (x+/-SEM): 9.0+/-0.7% and 9.9+/-0.8%, respectively. The effect of chelation was examined by measuring iron bioavailability of iron glycine and ferrous sulfate added to a high-phytate (310 mg/100 g) whole-grain cereal weaning food and comparing it with a lower-phytate (147 mg/100 g) vegetable food, as used in the first study. Both iron compounds had lower bioavailability from the high-phytate food, 5.2+/-0.5% for iron glycine and 3.8+/-0.9% for ferrous sulfate, than the lower-phytate food, 9.8+/-1.5% for iron glycine and 9.1+/-1.3% for ferrous sulfate. The results showed no significant difference in bioavailability between the two forms of iron when added to infant weaning foods, suggesting that the glycine complex was fully or partially dissociated in the gastrointestinal tract. It is concluded that chelation does not improve the bioavailability of iron in the presence of dietary inhibitors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-668
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998


  • Biological Availability
  • Cereals
  • Chelating Agents
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Glycine
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Iron
  • Phytic Acid
  • Vegetables
  • Weaning

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