Post-prandial iron absorption in humans: comparison between HFE genotypes and iron deficiency anaemia

Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;27(2):258-63. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2007.12.007. Epub 2008 Feb 13.


Background & aims: Measurement of serum iron increase after ingestion of a meal could be an efficient method of comparing post-prandial iron absorption between groups of individuals. We determined whether the rise in post-prandial serum iron is increased in fully treated patients with hereditary haemochromatosis (HFE C282Y+/+; HH) compared to iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), iron-replete heterozygous subjects (HFE C282Y+/-) and iron-replete controls (HFE C282Y-/-).

Methods: Serum iron increase was measured over 4h after a meal containing 13.1 mg non-haem iron.

Results: Post-prandial increase in serum iron was similar in treated HH versus IDA (P=0.54), but greater than control subjects (P<0.0001). In five HH patients, using (58)Fe as a tracer, the rate of iron absorption was increased (P<0.05) and serum non-transferrin bound iron showed a tendency to increase (P=0.06). Serum iron curves did not differ for heterozygous subjects and controls (P=0.65).

Conclusions: Using the serum iron method we found a comparable increase in post-prandial iron absorption in treated HH and IDA compared with controls. While post-prandial iron absorption in the group heterozygous for the C282Y mutation was modestly increased relative to controls, this difference was not statistically significant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Genotype
  • Hemochromatosis / blood
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics*
  • Hemochromatosis / metabolism*
  • Hemochromatosis Protein
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Heterozygote
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Iron / blood*
  • Iron Isotopes
  • Iron, Dietary / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Postprandial Period


  • HFE protein, human
  • Hemochromatosis Protein
  • Hemoglobins
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Iron Isotopes
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Ferritins
  • Iron