Effect of high-dose iron supplements on fractional zinc absorption and status in pregnant women

Linda J Harvey, Jack R Dainty, Wendy J Hollands, Victoria J Bull, Jurian A Hoogewerff, Robert J Foxall, Liadhan McAnena, J J Strain, Susan J Fairweather-Tait

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46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Women have an increased risk of iron deficiency during pregnancy because of the demands of the developing fetus. Iron supplements are commonly advocated as a prophylactic treatment and are generally taken with meals to reduce side effects, but iron can interfere with the absorption of zinc. Objective: The aim was to determine the effect of consuming an iron supplement (100 mg Fe/d as ferrous gluconate) with meals from 16 wk gestation to term on zinc status and absorption. Design: Stable-isotope techniques were used to measure zinc status (exchangeable zinc pool, EZP) and fractional zinc absorption (FZA) in early and late pregnancy from a meal consumed at a different time from that of iron supplement or placebo consumption in 6 women given iron supplements and 7 given a placebo. Results: FZA increased during pregnancy, independent of iron supplementation. FZA was significantly higher (P < 0.001) at week 34 than at weeks 16 and 24, and urinary zinc excretion was higher at week 34 than at week 16 (P = 0.02). The size of the EZP remained unchanged throughout pregnancy and was unaffected by iron supplementation. The iron status of iron-supplemented women was higher than that of the placebo group. Conclusions: In iron-replete pregnant women who consumed a Western diet, no detectable adverse effects on zinc metabolism were observed after ingestion of 100 mg Fe/d. An increase in the efficiency of zinc absorption was observed during late pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume85
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

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