May 1980

Inhibition of Iron Absorption by Certain Foods

Author Affiliations

University of California Department of Pediatrics San Francisco, CA 94143

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(5):453-454. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130170003001

The article of Oski and Landaw (see p 459) and the recently published report by Saarinen and Siimes1 indicate that the timing and choice of solid foods for infants may have a much greater influence on iron nutrition than was previously realized. In early infancy, most of the demands of iron for growth are supplied by relatively abundant neonatal iron stores, and absorption of food iron plays a subsidiary role.2 As neonatal stores become depleted after about four months in the term infant, iron must be supplied almost exclusively from dietary sources. The transition between these two phases of iron metabolism coincides with the time when the introduction of solid foods is currently recommended.3.4

Absorption of food iron is under two major influences: the first is the homeostatic function of the intestinal mucosa, by which the absorption of iron increases as iron stores decrease; second and less