Background: Food iron fortification can be a good strategy to prevent iron deficiency. Iron bioavailability from cocoa powder enriched with ferric pyrophosphate encapsulated in liposomes or ferrous fumarate was assessed in rats. Methods: Three groups of rats consumed during 28 days either a control diet or two diets prepared with ferric pyrophosphate- or ferrous fumarate-enriched cocoa powder as the unique source of iron. Body weight and food intake were monitored and last-week feces were collected. On day 28, animals were sacrificed and livers and spleens were removed. Hemoglobin and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) were determined. Results: There were no significant differences in body weight and food intake. Apparent iron absorption and % absorption/intake were significantly lower in rats consuming enriched cocoa compared to the control group, without significant differences due to the iron form. Enriched cocoa groups showed significantly lower spleen iron content and concentration than the control. Liver iron was lower in the ferric pyrophosphate group compared to the other two groups. Hemoglobin and TIBC values showed a deficient iron status in ferric pyrophosphate rats. Conclusion: Cocoa powder is a good vehicle for iron fortification when enriched with ferrous fumarate compared to ferric pyrophosphate encapsulated in liposomes.

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