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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Mar; 67(3): 421-30.

Zinc absorption, mineral balance, and blood lipids in women consuming controlled lactoovovegetarian and omnivorous diets for 8 wk.

Hunt JR, Matthys LA, Johnson LK.

US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, ND 58202-9034, USA.

Zinc absorption, mineral balance, and blood lipid concentrations were measured in 21 women aged 33 +/- 7 y (range: 20-42 y) consuming controlled lactoovovegetarian and nonvegetarian diets for 8 wk each in a crossover design. The lactoovovegetarian and nonvegetarian diets, respectively, provided (by analysis) 973 and 995 mg Ca, 1.8 and 1.3 mg Cu, 367 and 260 mg Mg, 5.9 and 2.5 mg Mn, 1457 and 1667 mg P, 9.1 and 11.1 mg Zn, and (by calculation) 40 and 16 g dietary fiber, 2.5 and 0.8 mmol phytic acid, molar ratios of phytate to Zn of 14 and 5, and millimolar ratios of (phytate x Ca) to Zn of 344 and 111. Dietary zinc absorption was measured by extrinsic isotopic labeling and whole-body counting. Plasma cholesterol, cholesterol fractions, and lipoproteins were reduced 7-12% with the lactoovovegetarian diet, consistent with predictions based on dietary cholesterol and fat. Blood pressure was unaffected. Calcium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus balances were not different between diets; manganese balance tended to be greater with the lactoovovegetarian diet (P < 0.07). The lactoovovegetarian diet was associated with a 21% reduction in absorptive efficiency that, together with a 14% reduction in dietary zinc, reduced the amount of zinc absorbed by 35% (2.4 compared with 3.7 mg/d) and reduced plasma zinc by 5% within the normal range. Zinc balance was maintained with both diets. Although there is a greater risk of zinc deficiency in persons consuming lactoovovegetarian compared with omnivorous diets, with inclusion of whole grains and legumes zinc requirements can be met and zinc balance maintained.

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