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Name: Mark Linnerud
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Question:
Several brands of both hot and cold cereal contain elemental iron as a food additive. The pH in the stomach is about 2. This corresponds to a .01M HCl solution. If you put iron fillings extracted from cereal into .01M acid and stir, nothing happens. Can the body assimilate elemental iron? Is this iron useful in the cereal or is it just there to look good on the label?



Replies:
I'm not certain of the mechanisms but the body clearly needs iron, and has mechanisms for extracting it. Simply because iron won't dissolve in the stomach doesn't mean it can't be used. But maybe you're right, and the manufacturers just put it in to look good. However, I'll try to look into this and see if I can find more.

Ethan Allen



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