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Impact of micronutrient dietary intake and status on intestinal zinc absorption in late middle-aged men

Adjustments in intestinal absorption and losses of zinc (Zn) are thought to maintain Zn homeostasis when dietary intakes levels are altered. Zn status may also influence efficiency of intestinal Zn absorption. The objectives of this work were to determine the impact of dietary intake and status of some micronutrients on Zn absorption in late middle-aged men. Dietary intake and status of Zn, Cu, Fe, vitamin A, C and fibre, and absorption of Zn were measured in 48 men, aged 58-68yr, confined to a metabolic unit and consuming a typical French diet. Dietary intake was estimated using 4-d food-intake records (including the weekend) and the GENI program.

To assess Zn status, plasma, erythrocyte, urine Zn levels and plasma alkaline phosphatase activity were determined. Zn absorption was determined using the isotope double labelling method. Zn stable isotopic ratios were measured in plasma samples collected before and 48 hours after isotope administration using ICP/MS. Zn intake within the group of men varied from 5.7 to 20.5mg/day and averaged 12.9mg/day. Plasma Zn level varied from 10 to 18µmol/l and averaged 12.9µmol/l. Zn absorption varied from 12 to 46% and averaged 29.7%. Zn absorption was not significantly (p>0.05) correlated with Zn intake or with any of the Zn status parameters. Zn absorption was only slightly negatively correlated with plasma and erythrocyte Zn levels and with serum Fe and ferritin levels in this study. In conclusion, although dietary intake was low, Zn absorption was satisfactory and led to an adequate Zn status in this population.

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