Introduction: As many as 35 percent of the world population suffer from some degree of iron deficiency anemia. According to recent reports published by WHO and ICN (International Congress of Nutrition) 20-40 percent of women are suffering from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia is caused by lack of intake of the necessary doses of Fe+2 called Heme. The recommended intake dose is 10-17 mg Fe + 2/day. In Iran, bread is the main source of daily iron intake. However, the iron content of bread is Fe+3 which is not absorbable. The objectives of this study is to determine the levels of absorbable iron (Fe + 2) in two common types of Iranian bread and identify the means of raising these to an adequate levels.
Methods: Random sampling method together with the normal distribution curve was employed in testing 120 samples of flour and bread. Quantification was carried out on each sample in duplicate using spectrophotometer at 510 mu, micrometer wave length. The effect of three organic acids (lactic ascorbic and acetic acid) converting of Fe+3 to Fe + 2 was investigated. Two groups of bread was tested. One group was baked in tratitional oven (Noon-e-Tanoori) and the second group through the common Iranian hot rotating iron plate baking machine (Noon-e-Machini).
Results: Our results showed that the amount of absorbable Fe+2 in breads baked in rotatory oven (Noon-e-Tanoori) is 0.8 ± 0.32 mg and the amount of unabsorbable Fe+3 in dried bread is 2.34 ± 0.25 mg/100 gm while the amount of absorbable Fe + 2 baked in traditional ovens is only 0.3±0.11 mg versus of unabsorbable Fe  + 3 1.9±0.13 mg/100 gm of dried bread. Meanwhile it was found that lactic and ascorbic acids can convert Fe+3 to Fe+2. Therefore, addition of one of these two acids to bread can catalyze conversion of unabsorbable Fe+3 to absorbable Fe + 2.
Discussion: On the average an Iranian consumes 370 gm of bread per day. This translates into 3 mgm and 1.1 mgm of Fe +2 if the bread is baked by rotating hot iron plate and by traditional oven (Tanoor), respectively. As only 10 percent of this amount is converted into absorbable Fe + 2 the daily iron intake through bread alone is not sufficient. Yogurt and Garagorout are main sources of lactic acid. Therefore, it is recommended to add one of these to yeast in order to increase the level of absorbable Fe+2 in bread. Furthermore, Yogurt is highly recommended to be added to daily diet, and garagorout as a seasoning.


Iron deficiency anemia, Bread, Absorbable Iron, Fe+3, Fe+2