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Enhanced intestinal uptake of iron, zinc and calcium in rats fed pungent spice principles - Piperine, capsaicin and ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology : organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS) | 22 Jan 2013

UN Prakash and K Srinivasan
In view of the wide-spread deficiency of iron and zinc in populations dependent on plant foods, it is desirable to improve the bioavailability of the same. Specific dietary spices may alter the ultrastructure and permeability characteristics of intestines. Groups of Wistar rats were fed piperine, capsaicin and ginger containing diets for 8 weeks in order to examine their possible influence on intestinal absorption of iron, zinc and calcium. Everted segments of duodenum, jejunum and ileum portions of small intestines isolated from these rats were examined for ex vivo uptake of iron, zinc and calcium from incubations containing digesta of finger millet. Higher uptake of iron, zinc and calcium by the intestinal segments from spice-fed animals was observed. The increase in the mineral uptake was the highest for calcium with >100% in some cases. The positive influence of dietary capsaicin was more pronounced on zinc uptake as compared to that of iron. Uptake of the glutamic acid standard was 87% and 62% higher in the case of jejunal segments of rats fed piperine and ginger. The higher intestinal uptake of iron and zinc as a result of consumption of pungent spices could encourage a strategy to reduce deficiency of these trace elements prevalent in population dependent on plant based foods.
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Large intestine, Digestive system, Intestine, Jejunum, Duodenum, Spice, Ginger, Small intestine
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