Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 149, Issue 2, pp 135–142 | Cite as

Dietary Fiber Intake Increases the Risk of Zinc Deficiency in Healthy and Diabetic Women

  • Meika Foster
  • Michelle Karra
  • Tegan Picone
  • Anna Chu
  • Dale P. Hancock
  • Peter Petocz
  • Samir SammanEmail author


Phytic acid is a major determinant of zinc bioavailability. Little is known about phytic acid intakes or indices of zinc bioavailability in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), a condition that predisposes to zinc deficiency. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to measure and explore the relationships among phytic acid intake, zinc bioavailability, and molecular markers of zinc homeostasis in 20 women with DM compared to 20 healthy women. The phytate/zinc, (calcium)(phytate)/zinc, and (calcium + magnesium)(phytate)/zinc molar ratios were used to indicate zinc bioavailability. Plasma zinc concentrations and zinc transporter (ZnT1, ZnT8, and Zip1) gene expression in mononuclear cells were measured. Participants with DM consumed 1,194 ± 824 mg/day (mean ± SD) phytic acid, an amount similar to the intake of healthy women (1,316 ± 708 mg/day). Bread products and breakfast cereals contributed more than 40 % of the phytic acid intake in each group. A positive relationship was observed in all participants between phytic acid and dietary fiber (r = 0.6, P < 0.001) and between dietary fiber and the (calcium)(phytate)/zinc ratio (r = 0.5, P < 0.001). Compared to the healthy group, the messenger RNA ratio of ZnT1 (zinc export) to Zip1 (zinc import) was lower in participants with DM, which may indicate perturbed zinc homeostasis in the disorder. The plasma zinc concentration was not predicted by age, body mass index, health status, zinc bioavailability, or zinc transporter expression. Healthy and diabetic women consume phytic acid in amounts that are likely to decrease the bioavailability of dietary zinc. Recommendations to consume greater amounts of dietary fiber, much of which is associated with phytate, increase the risk of zinc deficiency.


Zinc Phytic acid Dietary fiber Diabetes mellitus 



The study was supported by the Sydney University Nutrition Research Foundation. The authors thank Drs E. Ferguson and F. Amirabdollahian for assistance with the phytate database. The authors do not have any conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meika Foster
    • 1
  • Michelle Karra
    • 1
  • Tegan Picone
    • 1
  • Anna Chu
    • 1
  • Dale P. Hancock
    • 2
  • Peter Petocz
    • 3
  • Samir Samman
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Discipline of Nutrition & Metabolism, School of Molecular Bioscience G08University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Discipline of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, School of Molecular BioscienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of StatisticsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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