Rats fed a corn grit diet containing large amounts of ferric citrate absorb and deposit excessive amounts of iron in their livers. Undoubtedly various factors are involved in iron absorption, but these studies indicate that the low level of dietary phosphate was primarily responsible.
The addition of phosphate salts to this diet has shown that the amount of iron deposited in the liver was inversely related to the phosphorus content of the diet.
It is possible to obtain excessive iron deposits in the livers of animals receiving a normal diet, by adding large amounts of iron salts to the diet. This is not associated with losses of body weight in these animals.
It is concluded that the absolute amount of iron and/or phosphorus in the diet as well as the iron-phosphorus ratio influences the amount of iron absorbed.