Objective To test the hypothesis that micronutrient beverages can provide the daily iron and zinc needs of small children. Study design Forty children aged 6 to 9 years were recruited (Lima, Peru). For 4 weeks, they received a daily serving of a beverage containing multiple micronutrients. Over 2 consecutive days, subjects received stable isotope-labeled servings of the beverage with and without a meal as well as an intravenous dose of zinc. Iron and zinc bioavailability were assessed using mass spectrometry. Results Iron absorption was significantly lower with a meal than without (9.8 ± 6.7% versus 11.6 ± 6.9%, P=.04), but zinc absorption was not (24.5 ± 10.7% versus 22.8 ± 7.6%, P=.2). In either case, however, a single daily serving provided most of the iron and zinc requirements for the children. Conclusions Single daily servings of multinutrient-fortified beverages can meet much of the mineral needs for small children. Food has a small inhibitory effect on iron, but not zinc, absorption; therefore, these beverages can be efficacious even when given with a meal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health