Iron in cereal
Name: Mark Linnerud
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?
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.
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Update: June 2012