It has been known that dietary phytate decreases the absorption of body zinc pool which is composed of the dietary and endogenous zinc in the body. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of phytate on the absorption of total bodyzinc in Zn-depleted rats. Rats were Zn-depleted with either low(0.8%) or high(1.6%) Ca diet containing sodium phytate for 4 weeks. After zinc depletion, rats were assigned into phytate or non-phytate dietary groups within each low- or high-Ca dietary group. Rat feces were collected for 2 weeks of the initial collection and 1 week after dietary crossover, during which the phytate and the non-phytate diet was switched over within the same Ca group. The content of Zn and Ca measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometer and phytate content was analyzed. Food intake was higher in the high Ca group than in the low Ca group(p<0.0001), and was also higher in the non-phytate group than in the phytate group(p<0.0001). Food intake and phytate level affected body weight gain in rats(p<0.0001). Zinc excretion in the total feces was higher in the phytate group than in the non-phytate group at both low and high Ca level(p <0.0001), except during the crossover collection period in high Ca group. Calcium, however, didn't show any synergistic effect on phytate effect(p<0.05). This study showed that phytate decreased the absorption of total body zinc at both low and high Ca levels in Zn-depleted rats. A large portion of total body zinc originated from the endogenous zinc pool in these rats. The results of the present study showed the same effect of phytate on the endogenous zinc in Zn-depleted rats as in a previous study, confirming that phytate adversely affects zinc bioavailability, especially under marginal and poor zinc nutrition.
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