African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 945

Full Length Research Paper

Bioavailability from electrolytic and reduced iron in humans is enhanced by NaFe-EDTA and vitamin A in corn and wheat flours. Effect of serum retinol status

Maria N. García-Casal*, José Ramírez and Irene Leets
Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), Apartado 21827 Caracas 1020-A, Venezuela.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 April 2009
  •  Published: 31 May 2009



The objective was to evaluate in vitro and in vivo of the effect of NaFe-EDTA and vitamin A on iron solubility and absorption from corn and wheat breads fortified with electrolytic or reduced iron. Subjects (178) were randomly selected to receive breads containing electrolytic or reduced iron, NaFe-EDTA and a combination of one elemental iron and NaFe-EDTA. One meal also included vitamin A (300.3mgRE: 1000 IU). Meals contained radioactive and 5 mg cold iron/bread. Radioactivity in blood reflected iron absorption. Serum retinol was measured by HPLC. Solubility tests were performed increasing the pH of iron solutions from 2 to 6 and measuring iron in the supernatant. NaFe-EDTA significantly (p < 0.05) increased absorption from electrolytic and reduced iron above the calculated expected values of the compounds administered separately. The increase ranged from 12 to 49% depending on the elemental iron tested. Addition of vitamin A further and significantly (p < 0.05) increased iron absorption and there was a 55.7% prevalence of vitamin A deficiency. NaFe-EDTA also increased in vitro solubility of iron and vitamin A produced further and significant (p < 0.05) increments. Iron absorption and solubility from electrolytic and reduced iron was significantly enhanced by the inclusion of NaFe-EDTA and vitamin A in corn or wheat breads or in vitro. Serum retinol status was low in subjects studied and iron absorption was higher in retinol deficient subjects.


Key words: Electrolytic iron, NaFe-EDTA, vitamin A, iron bioavailability, corn, wheat.