Are peas the way forward? Norwich researchers discover vegetables could be more effective iron source than supplements

The University of East Anglia. Photo: UEA

The University of East Anglia. Photo: UEA - Credit: Archant

Ground breaking research conducted in Norfolk has indicated that iron contained in peas could be used more effectively than dietary supplements.

A research team from the University of East Anglia has looked into how effectively iron found in peas is absorbed into the body, and found that plant-derived iron is largely destroyed during the digestive process.

However, the scientists discovered that if the acidic conditions of the stomach can be bypassed by the peas, the release of iron into the small intestine can be very effective.

Professor Susan Fairweather-Tait, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: 'Technology already exists that would enable us to produce coated capsules that could effectively transport the ferritin [iron] through the stomach and into the intestine where it can be absorbed.'

The team is currently searching for collaborators to help them take the research forward.

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The full results have been published in the Journal of Nutrition.

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