Assessing the effects of model Maillard compound intake on iron, copper and zinc retention and tissue delivery in adult rats
The behaviour of dietary Maillard reaction compounds (MRP) as metal chelating polymers can alter mineral absorption and/or retention. Our aim in this study was to analyse the long-term effects of the consumption of model MRP from glucose–lysine heated for 90 min at 150 °C (GL) on iron, copper and zinc whole-body retention and tissue delivery. For 88 days, weaning rats were fed a Control diet or one containing 3% GL, until reaching the adult stage. During the experimental period a mineral balance was conducted to investigate the mineral retention. At day 88, the animals were sacrificed, blood was drawn for haemoglobin determination and some organs were removed. Copper and zinc balances were unaffected (Cu: 450 vs. 375 μg; Zn: 6.7 vs. 6.2 mg for Control and GL groups, respectively) and no change was observed in whole-body delivery. Iron retention, too, was unaltered (11.2 mg for Control and GL groups) but due to the tendency toward decreased body weight in the GL group (248 vs. 233 g for the Control and GL groups), whole-body iron concentration was 13% higher in the GL group than in the Control group. Absorbed iron accumulated particularly in the liver (144 vs. 190 μg g−1 for the Control and GL groups), thus reducing haemoglobin levels. The long-term intake of MRP induced iron accumulation in the body but this did not result in enhanced iron functionality, since the haemoglobin concentration declined. Taking into account the findings of our research group's studies of young and adult rats, we now corroborate the hypothesis that the negative effect of GL MRP consumption on iron functionality takes place regardless of the animals’ stage of life.