European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 567–574 | Cite as

Comparative study of the oral absorption of microencapsulated ferric saccharate and ferrous sulfate in humans

  • Carlos Contreras
  • María Dolores Barnuevo
  • Isabel GuillénEmail author
  • Antonio Luque
  • Elisabet Lázaro
  • Jordi Espadaler
  • Javier López-Román
  • José A. Villegas
Original Contribution



Our objective was to compare the absorption of microencapsulated ferric saccharate (MFS) and ferrous sulfate (FS) in a fortified milk product, using a crossover design.


Seventeen non-iron-deficient healthy adults from both sexes participated in the study. On each intervention day (days 1 and 8), after an overnight fast, the volunteers consumed one type of product (test or control) and blood sampling was carried out at different times. The interventions days were separated by 7-day washout periods. This study was double blinded, crossover and randomized for nature of the test meals. The primary outcomes of the study were total serum iron and transferrin saturation.


No significant differences could be observed in serum iron concentration during the 6-h postprandial study due to the type of milk product consumed, and there was neither an effect of time nor an interaction between the type of milk product and time. Transferrin saturation significantly increased after the intake of both products (P < 0.005), reaching a peak value between hours 2 and 4. No significant differences were detected between MFS and FS, indicating that iron absorption from MFS is equivalent to absorption from FS.


MFS is a new ingredient that allows the fortification of a wide range of food products, including heat-processed and non-acidic products with similar absorption to FS, designed to produce neither organoleptic changes nor off-color development during storage of fortified food.


Iron Deficiency Microencapsulated ferric saccharate Ferrous sulfate Fortified milk 



The authors are grateful to the volunteers for their participation. The promoting company of this research is AB-Biotics S.A, Cerdanyola del Valles, Barcelona, Spain. The authors would like to express their gratitude to AB-Biotics for the confidence placed in their independent research group.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This study was conducted according to the guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki, and all procedures involving human subjects were approved by an ethics committee. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to their inclusion in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Contreras
    • 1
  • María Dolores Barnuevo
    • 1
  • Isabel Guillén
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonio Luque
    • 1
  • Elisabet Lázaro
    • 2
  • Jordi Espadaler
    • 2
  • Javier López-Román
    • 1
  • José A. Villegas
    • 3
  1. 1.Cátedra de Fisiología del Ejercicio, Departamento de Ciencias de la SaludUniversidad Católica San AntonioGuadalupe, MurciaSpain
  2. 2.AB-Biotics SABellaterraSpain
  3. 3.Dirección General de la Actividad Física y del DeporteConsejería de Cultura y Turismo, Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de MurciaMurciaSpain

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