High doses of vitamin A impair iron absorption
Fabíola Rainato Gabriel, Vivian MM Suen, Julio Sergio Marchini, José Eduardo Dutra de Oliveira
Division of Clinical Nutrition, Department of Internal Medicine, Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine, São Paulo University, São Paulo, Brazil
Objective: The present study aimed to determine the influence of vitamin A on iron absorption when vitamin A and iron are administered together orally compared with the administration of iron alone.
Methods: This was a randomized double-blind clinical trial conducted on healthy men with normal red blood cell indices. Five experiments were performed, with iron (10 mg); iron (10 mg) plus vitamin A (450, 900 and 1800 µg), and placebo. After an 8-hour fast, basal (T0) blood samples were collected: basal (T0), 2 hours (T1), and 4 hours (T2) after the ingestion of the compounds to be studied. Iron was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Serum ferritin was determined by an immunometric method, ie, by chemoluminescent enzyme immunoassay. Plasma retinol was measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Serum curves and the sum of the area under the curve adjusted to the mixed effects linear model were determined (P < 0.05).
Results: Vitamin A at the doses of 450 and 900 µg had a stimulating effect, which, however, did not differ significantly from that of experiment 1 in which iron was used alone. At the dose of 1800 µg, vitamin A had a negative effect on iron absorption.
Conclusion: High doses of vitamin A may cause lower serum iron levels, whereas a low dose favors iron absorption.
Keywords: iron absorption, serum iron, vitamin A, oral iron, oral supplement
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