Iron bioavailability in 8–24-month-old Thai children from a micronutrient-fortified quick-cooking rice containing ferric ammonium citrate or a mixture of ferrous sulphate and ferric sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid

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Abstract

A quick-cooking rice, produced from broken rice, is a convenient ingredient for complementary foods in Thailand. The rice is fortified with micronutrients including iron during the processing procedure, which can cause unacceptable sensory changes. A quick-cooking rice fortified with ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) or a mixture of ferrous sulphate (FeSO4) and ferric sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (NaFeEDTA), with a 2:1 molar ratio of iron from FeSO4 : iron from NaFeEDTA (FeSO4 + NaFeEDTA), gave a product that was organoleptically acceptable. The study compared iron absorption by infants and young children fed with micronutrient-fortified quick-cooking rice containing the test iron compounds or FeSO4. Micronutrient-fortified quick-cooking rice prepared as a traditional Thai dessert was fed to two groups of 15 8–24-month healthy Thai children. The iron fortificants were isotopically labelled with 57Fe for the reference FeSO4 or 58Fe for the tested fortificants, and iron absorption was quantified based on erythrocyte incorporation of the iron isotopes 14 days after feeding. The relative bioavailability of FAC and of the FeSO4 + NaFeEDTA was obtained by comparing their iron absorption with that of FeSO4. Mean fractional iron absorption was 5.8% [±standard error (SE) 1.9] from FAC and 10.3% (±SE 1.9) from FeSO4 + NaFeEDTA. The relative bioavailability of FAC was 83% (P = 0.02). The relative bioavailability of FeSO4 + NaFeEDTA was 145% (P = 0.001). Iron absorption from the rice containing FAC or FeSO4 + NaFeEDTA was sufficiently high to be used in its formulation, although iron absorption from FeSO4 + NaFeEDTA was significantly higher (P < 0.00001).

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