Zinc Absorption from Milk Is Affected by Dilution but Not by Thermal Processing, and Milk Enhances Absorption of Zinc from High-Phytate Rice in Young Dutch Women. uri icon


  • Background: Milk has been suggested to increase zinc absorption. The effect of processing and the ability of milk to enhance zinc absorption from other foods has not been measured directly in humans.
  • Conclusions: Milk enhanced human FAZ from high-phytate rice by 62% compared with water. Diluting milk with water decreases its absorption-enhancing proprieties, whereas UHT processing does not. This trial was registered at the Dutch trial registry as NTR4267 (http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=4267).
  • Methods: Two randomized crossover studies were conducted in healthy young women [age: 18-25 y; body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 20-25]: 1) a milk study (n = 19) comparing the consumption of 800 mL full-fat ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk [heat-treated milk (HTM)], full-fat UHT milk diluted 1:1 with water [heat-treated milk and water (MW)], water, or unprocessed (raw) milk (UM), each extrinsically labeled with Zn-67, and 2) a rice study (n = 18) comparing the consumption of 90 g intrinsically Zn-67-labeled rice with 600 mL of water [rice and water (RW)] or full-fat UHT milk [rice and milk (RM)]. The fractional absorption of zinc (FAZ) was measured with the double-isotope tracer ratio method. In vitro, we assessed zinc extraction from rice blended into water, UM, or HTM with or without phytate.
  • Objective: We aimed to assess zinc absorption from 1) milk undergoing various processing and preparatory steps and 2) from intrinsically labeled high-phytate rice consumed with milk or water.
  • Results: FAZ from HTM was 25.5% (95% CI: 21.6%, 29.4%) and was not different from UM (27.8%; 95% CI: 24.2%, 31.4%). FAZ from water was higher (72.3%; 95% CI: 68.7%, 75.9%), whereas FAZ from MW was lower (19.7%; 95% CI: 17.5%, 21.9%) than HTM and UM (both P < 0.01). FAZ from RM (20.7%; 95% CI: 18.8%, 22.7%) was significantly higher than from RW (12.8%; 95% CI: 10.8%, 14.6%; P < 0.01). In vitro, HTM and UM showed several orders of magnitude higher extraction of zinc from rice with HTM than from rice with water at various phytate concentrations.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017
  • 2017