European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 56, Issue 8, pp 2611–2620 | Cite as

Iron bioavailability from supplemented formula milk: effect of lactoferrin addition

  • Sonia Fernández-Menéndez
  • María L. Fernández-SánchezEmail author
  • Héctor González-Iglesias
  • Belén Fernández-Colomer
  • José López-Sastre
  • Alfredo Sanz-MedelEmail author
Original Contribution



In this work, the absorption and/or bioavailability of iron from two chemical species, 57Fe-Lf (apo-lactoferrin) complex and 57FeSO4 at low and high dose, and in Lf excess were investigated in lactating wistar rats.


The methodology used is based on the use of stable isotopes in combination with the approach “isotope pattern deconvolution” and ICP-MS for detection. This approach provides quantitative information about exogenous (57Fe) and endogenous iron (natFe) distribution in fluids and tissues in the iron-supplemented rat groups.


The observed results with supplemented rats were compared with those found in rats receiving maternal feeding. Interestingly, differences were found between groups in iron for transport and storage compartments, but not in the functional one, depending upon the dose of iron administered and the chemical species.


Considering the results obtained, supplementation with iron salts in excess of Lf appears to be the best way of iron supplementation of formula milk.


IPD ICP-MS Lf Iron supplementation Enriched stable isotopes Lactating rats Apparent absorption retention Endogenous exogenous iron Body tissues fluids 



M. L. F. S. and A. S. M. designed research; S. F. M. conducted research; B. F. C., J. L. S, H. G. I. and S. F. M. analysed data; S. F. M., M. L. F. S. and A. S. M. wrote the paper. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. Authors are grateful to “Fundación para la Investigación Científica Aplicada y la Tecnología, Principado de Asturias” (FICYT. FC-11-PC10-46) and to “Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional” (FEDER). Also financial support from “Laboratorios Ordesa” (Barcelona, Spain) and “Fundación Grupo Castrillo” (Spain) is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 88 kb)
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Supplementary material 5 (DOC 61 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Fernández-Menéndez
    • 1
  • María L. Fernández-Sánchez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Héctor González-Iglesias
    • 2
  • Belén Fernández-Colomer
    • 3
  • José López-Sastre
    • 3
  • Alfredo Sanz-Medel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physical and Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  2. 2.“Fundación de Investigación Oftalmológica”Instituto Oftalmológico Fernández-VegaOviedoSpain
  3. 3.Service of Neonatology“Hospital Central de Asturias”OviedoSpain

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