Assessment of intestinal absorption of trace metals in humans by means of stable isotopes

E. Werner, P. Roth, V. Höllriegl, Ch Hansen, J. P. Kaltwasser, A. Giussani, M. C. Cantone, H. Greim, T. Zilker, N. Felgenhauer

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12 Scopus citations


This study is aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of stable isotopes for the assessment of reliable data on fractional intestinal absorption of trace metals in healthy humans. Among the various methods available, the double isotope technique, i.e. one isotope given orally together with the test substance to be investigated and another isotope injected intravenously to correct for retention and endogenous excretion of the particular trace metal, provides quantitative figures of intestinal absorption at reasonable expenses with regard to costs for materials and number of samples to be evaluated. The trace metals exemplarily included in this study, i.e. iron, cobalt and molybdenum show diverging relations between absorbed fractions and amounts administered which are indicative for different regulatory mechanisms of their body content. Food ligands influence the fractional absorption significantly so that the uptake from a composite meal cannot be derived from results on uptake from particular foodstuffs. Therefore, validated data on the behaviour of intestinal absorption will significantly contribute to a better understanding of human trace metal metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalIsotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Biokinetics
  • Cobalt
  • Foodstuffs
  • Intestinal absorption
  • Iron
  • Molybdenum 95
  • Molybdenum 96
  • Trace metals


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