A stable-isotope study of zinc, copper, and iron absorption and retention by young women fed vitamin B-6-deficient diets

Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Dec;54(6):1059-64. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/54.6.1059.


A 98-d study was conducted in young women to determine the effect of vitamin B-6-deficient diets on zinc, copper, and iron metabolism. Young women were fed vitamin B-6-deficient formula initially, followed by food diets containing four increasing amounts of vitamin B-6. Zinc, copper, and iron absorption, retention, and status were determined at intervals throughout the study. Zinc absorption and retention were greater during vitamin B-6 depletion but serum zinc declined, suggesting that absorbed zinc was not available for utilization. Copper absorption was lower during vitamin B-6 depletion but serum copper was not affected and balance was positive. Iron absorption was not impaired significantly by vitamin B-6-deficient diets but status may have declined. The results suggest that vitamin B-6 depletion of young women may alter zinc metabolism, inhibit copper absorption, and affect iron status. The effects of vitamin B-6 depletion differ markedly among these elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Copper / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / pharmacokinetics*
  • Isotopes
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Zinc / pharmacokinetics*


  • Isotopes
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Zinc