Iron in human milk

Gun Britt Fransson, Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


The distribution of iron among various fractions of human milk was determined by gel filtration, ultrafiltration, and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Total iron varied between 0.26 and 0.73 μg/ml; 15 to 46% of the iron was bound to the lipid fraction and 18 to 56% was found in a low molecular weight fraction. Only a small amount of iron was bound to lactoferrin, the major iron-binding protein of human milk; the iron saturation of this protein was found to be 1 to 4%, at the most. Thus, much less iron is bound to lactoferrin than earlier reported; this may be important in regard to the suggested role of this protein as a bacteriostatic agent. A correlation was found between iron and fat content during the course of a single nursing, but not between iron and lactoferrin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-384
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number3 PART 1
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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