Inulin helps pigs to better absorb iron
Swine research from the Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) in the US indicates that inulin- a complex carbohydrate found in many
plants worldwide- may help pigs absorb more iron from fruits, vegetables and
In Ithaca, New York, ARS plant physiologist Ross Welch, of the US Plant,
Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory, and Cornell University scientists Koji Yasuda,
Karl R. Roneker, Xingen Lei, and Dennis D Miller showed that young pigs fed
corn- and soy-based diets supplemented with inulin absorbed more iron from their
feed than pigs fed the same diet without inulin.
Welch says the discovery may prove significant in the
worldwide fight against iron deficiency. "Without inulin, the colon absorbs very
little iron from staple plant-based foods such as soybeans and corn because they
contain high amounts of phytic acid that inhibit iron absorption."
pigs were used, says Welch, because "They're an excellent model for studying
human iron nutrition. Their gastrointestinal tract anatomy and digestive
physiology are very similar to those in humans."
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