The effect of combined dietary iron, calcium and folic acid supplementation on apparent 65Zn absorption and zinc status in pregnant rats

S Southon, A J Wright, S J Fairweather-Tait

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In the present study the effect of combined iron, calcium and folic acid supplementation of the diet on 65Zn retention and zinc status was studied in the pregnant rat. Female Wistar rats were fed on a low- (8 micrograms/g) or high- (60 micrograms/g) Zn diet for 14 d and then mated overnight. After mating, half the rats were fed on the low- or high-Zn diet as before, whilst the other half were fed on similar diets supplemented with Fe, Ca and folic acid. The level of supplementation was chosen to reflect proportionately the possible increase in daily intakes of these nutrients by pregnant women. Rats which did not mate successfully were used as non-pregnant controls. On day 18 of pregnancy, each animal was given a meal of the appropriate diet labelled extrinsically with 65Zn, and on day 20 rats were killed. Carcass 65Zn retention was lower in pregnant and non-pregnant rats fed on the supplemented diets compared with those fed on the unsupplemented diets. Rats which consumed the supplemented diets throughout pregnancy had reduced plasma Zn concentrations but femur and fetal Zn concentrations were unaffected. Maternal femur Ca and fetal Fe concentrations were lower in the high-Zn groups compared with rats fed on low-Zn diets. It was concluded that the risk of inducing fetal Zn depletion as a consequence of Fe, Ca and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy appeared to be slight.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1989


  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal
  • Rats
  • Zinc

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