Background/Aims: Iron deficiency impairs growth and psychomotor development of infants. In Morocco, infusions are introduced very early in infant diet, and could contribute to iron deficiency, due to their high polyphenol content. Methods: The availability of tea, mint and vervain infusions was assessed using an in vitro model of digestion and dialysis. Two gastric pHs were used: pH 4 as in the first week life, and pH 2.5 as in older infants. Six repetitions of each experiment were made. The total polyphenol content of infusions was measured. Results: At pH 4 and at pH 2.5, iron availability was decreased by tea and vervain, and increased by mint and ascorbic acid. At both pHs it was increased by addition of ascorbic acid to tea and vervain. In addition, at pH 2.5 it was increased by addition of ascorbic acid to mint. The highest value was observed in the presence of both ascorbic acid and mint (33.1 ± 4.1%). In any case, iron availability was higher at pH 2.5 than at pH 4 (with single compounds or combinations with ascorbic acid). The polyphenol contents (mg/l) of tea, vervain and mint infusions were 2,236.1, 771.1, and 16.5. Conclusions: Tea and vervain infusions inhibited iron availability. In contrast, mint improved it; vitamin C helped in preventing these inhibiting properties. It could be proposed to discourage tea and vervain drinking at early weaning and to replace them by mint infusion, or at least to promote the consumption of vitamin C-rich fruit juice to counteract these inhibiting effects.

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