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Effect of infant formula, cow milk and inulin and oligofructose in intestinal iron absorption and the effects of these prebitotics in intestinal morphology in weaned rats

Grant number: 07/05274-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2008 - May 31, 2009
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine
Principal Investigator:Mauro Batista de Morais
Grantee:Mauro Batista de Morais
Home Institution: Departamento de Pediatria. Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The projects involved within this solicitation provide continuity to a research line that began in the uncertain remit of recommending a diet rich in food fiber for infants (older than 6 months) because the possible negative effects on growth and intestinal iron absorption. The results of our past studies contradict this concept shared by various professionals, providing backing for the introduction of sources rich in fiber within the complementary meals for infants, which could prevent intestinal constipation and create a healthier food eating habit. During the last few years, interest in prebiotics that possess physiological effects similar to dietary fiber has been growing. In some countries, including Brazil, prebiotics are being included as part of the infant formula. In this project there will be an evaluation as to whether prebiotics (oligofructose, inulin and an inulin + oligofructose mixture) interfere in growth and iron intestinal absorption by making use of an experimental model of hemoglobin mass regeneration in recently weaned rats with previously induced iron deficiency anemia. The effects of these prebiotics upon colonic and duodenal epithelial proliferation will also be evaluated. At the same time, when considering the elevated prevalence towards iron deficient anemia in the world; the low indices of exclusive maternal breast feeding and poor access to infant formulae for the majority of the population, the question that the greater quantity of proteins and calcium in integral cow milk can reduce the intestinal absorption of iron will be revisited when compared with the iron absorption of the formulae used with un-weaned infants. This analysis is relevant because of the lack of effectiveness in preventative measures for the eradication of iron deficiency in Brazil. In this study a new experimental model will also be developed within the laboratory in order to analyze iron absorption of liquid foods, which could be used in various studies to be developed in the future with different types of formulae for un-weaned infants. (AU)

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