A radiobioassay was performed in rats with or without iron depletion to evaluate the iron bioavailability of diets enriched with common beans and with "multimixture", a nutritional supplement based on parts of foods that are not usually eaten. The full-body (59)Fe level was determined after 5h, the absorbed (59)Fe level was determined after 48 h, and the amount of (59)Fe retained was determined after 7 days. Iron bioavailability was assessed by the full-body radioactivity of the animals, determined using a solid scintillation detector. The iron bioavailability of common beans was higher in the iron-depleted animals (55.7%) than in the non-depleted animals (25.12%) because of the higher absorption rate in the iron-depleted animals. The multimixture did not influence dietary iron bioavailability. In addition, the iron bioavailability of common beans was similar to that observed in the standard source of iron for Wistar rats. Hence, common beans may be considered an adequate dietary iron source because of its high bioavailability.
Keywords: Absorption; Bioavailability; Common beans; Iron; Rats.
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