Document Detail

A review of phytate, iron, zinc, and calcium concentrations in plant-based complementary foods used in low-income countries and implications for bioavailability.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20715598     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Plant-based complementary foods often contain high levels of phytate, a potent inhibitor of iron, zinc, and calcium absorption. This review summarizes the concentrations of phytate (as hexa- and penta-inositol phosphate), iron, zinc, and calcium and the corresponding phytate:mineral molar ratios in 26 indigenous and 27 commercially processed plant-based complementary foods sold in low-income countries. Phytate concentrations were highest in complementary foods based on unrefined cereals and legumes (approximately 600 mg/100 g dry weight), followed by refined cereals (approximately 100 mg/100 g dry weight) and then starchy roots and tubers (< 20 mg/100 g dry weight); mineral concentrations followed the same trend. Sixty-two percent (16/26) of the indigenous and 37% (10/27) of the processed complementary foods had at least two phytate:mineral molar ratios (used to estimate relative mineral bioavailability) that exceeded suggested desirable levels for mineral absorption (i.e., phytate:iron < 1, phytate:zinc < 18, phytate:calcium < 0.17). Desirable molar ratios for phytate:iron, phytate:zinc, and phytate:calcium were achieved for 25%, 70%, and 57%, respectively, of the complementary foods presented, often through enrichment with animal-source foods and/or fortification with minerals. Dephytinization, either in the household or commercially, can potentially enhance mineral absorption in high-phytate complementary foods, although probably not enough to overcome the shortfalls in iron, zinc, and calcium content of plant-based complementary foods used in low-income countries. Instead, to ensure the World Health Organization estimated needs for these minerals from plant-based complementary foods for breastfed infants are met, dephytinization must be combined with enrichment with animal-source foods and/or fortification with appropriate levels and forms of mineral fortificants.
Rosalind S Gibson; Karl B Bailey; Michelle Gibbs; Elaine L Ferguson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Food and nutrition bulletin     Volume:  31     ISSN:  0379-5721     ISO Abbreviation:  Food Nutr Bull     Publication Date:  2010 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-18     Completed Date:  2010-09-21     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7906418     Medline TA:  Food Nutr Bull     Country:  Japan    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S134-46     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Union Street, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9015, New Zealand. Rosalind.Gibson@Stonebow.Otago.AC.NZ
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MeSH Terms
Calcium, Dietary / analysis*,  metabolism
Cereals / chemistry
Developing Countries*
Fabaceae / chemistry
Food Technology
Food, Fortified / analysis
Infant Food / analysis*
Iron, Dietary / analysis*,  metabolism
Nutritive Value
Phytic Acid / analysis*,  metabolism
Plant Roots / chemistry
Plants, Edible / chemistry*
Seeds / chemistry
Zinc / analysis*,  metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Calcium, Dietary; 0/Iron, Dietary; 7440-66-6/Zinc; 83-86-3/Phytic Acid

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