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October 16, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(16):1281-1282. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780420041013

The importance of an adequate supply of iron in the diet of man is well known. However, the total amount of iron in ingested foods is not the sole factor1 in determining the amount of this element which is utilized by the organism. Of equal importance are the chemical nature of the compounds in which food iron is contained and variations in the absorption and retention of the substance under different physiologic and pathologic conditions. Prolonged diarrhea, for example, may lower the amount of iron absorbed and therefore the amount retained, presumably because of a decrease in the time during which the chyme is present in the intestine. The amount of hydrochloric acid present in the gastric juice likewise affects the absorption of iron. Patients with achlorhydria frequently have anemia of the iron-deficiency type. Indeed, it has been shown2 that the decrease in gastric acidity following alkali therapy

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