Shen Yi, Posavec Lidija, Bolisetty Sreenath, Hilty Florentine, Nystrom Gustav, Kohlbrecher Joachim, Hilbe Monika, Rossi Antonella, Baumgartner Jeannine, Zimmermann Michael, Mezzenga Raffaele, Amyloid fibril systems reduce, stabilize and deliver bioavailable nanosized iron, in Nature Nanotechnology
Nutritional deficiencies of iron (Fe), zinc (Zn) and calcium (Ca) affect many billions of people in the world. Most children, young women and infants in low-income countries are Fe and/or Zn deficient, due to habitual diet low in bioavailable nutritional macronutrients. These deficiencies are major public health concerns, because directly cause impaired growth, lower work capacity, damage the immune function and cognitive development. These nutritional deficiencies can also cause the fetal death during pregnancy. Fortification of foods and/or supplementation with Fe and Zn can be an effective, sustainable strategy to combat these deficiencies. Nanostructured oxides and phosphates of iron, zinc and calcium show great promise for food and nutrition applications, as nanoparticles of these elements with very high surface area, easily dis-solve in the stomach and release Fe and Zn ions, resulting in marked increases in absorption in animals. Unfortunately, dispersion of these nanoparticles in foods and beverages results challenging due to colloidal aggregation, which severely limits the possible means and technologies of administrating these nutrients. In order to optimize absorption of Fe and Zn from nanoparticle sources, we propose here a new strategy, in which suitable proteins, act as efficient carriers for the nanostructured minerals. The approach proposed is inexpensive and general enough (independent of the specific protein and the mineral considered), to be readily scalable. The complex of proteins and mineral nanoparticles proposed here are stable as water colloidal dispersions, which makes the formulation ideal for being administrated in many processed foods; more importantly, the effect of peptides may boost absorption and bioavailability of the minerals.