skip to content »

Children's Nutrition Research Center - Faculty

Houston, Texas

As a premier academic medical center, BCM accepts the mantle of leadership in patient care, research, and education.
Children's Nutrition Research Center - Faculty
not shown on screen

Steven Abrams, M.D.

Steven Abrams, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine

Attending Physician
Section of Neonatology
Texas Children's Hospital

E-mail: sabrams@bcm.edu
Web site: Abrams Lab

Research Interests

Absorption and Metabolism of Dietary Minerals in Infants and Children

My research focuses on the metabolism of nutritionally important minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.

Study populations of interest include both healthy children and those with chronic illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease. Studies are performed by giving the subjects stable isotopes of the elements of interest and following the time course of the isotopes in blood, urine, and stool following ingestion. Intravenously administered isotopes are used to assess the rate of bone mineral deposition and the secretion of minerals into the gastrointestinal tract. Mathematical models of calcium, magnesium and zinc kinetics are used to evaluate the turnover of these minerals in the body. The interrelationship of genetics, hormones, and diet are evaluated in interpreting our results.

The analytical tools utilized for these measurements are isotope-ratio mass spectrometers, including both a thermal ionization mass spectrometer and an inductively coupled-plasma (ICP) mass spectrometer. These are state-of-the-art devices capable of highly precise measurements of isotopes which have been isolated from biological samples.

Current studies focus specifically on growing infants and children in an attempt to evaluate dietary recommendations for nutritionally important minerals. We also are involved in collaborative research projects centered in developing nations to evaluate dietary mineral needs of children in these countries.

Representative Publications:

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Gunn SK, Gundberg CM, Carpenter TO. Relationships among vitamin D levels, parathyroid hormone, and calcium absorption in young adolescents. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 90(10):5576-5581, 2005.

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Liang L. Height and height Z-score are related to calcium absorption in five- to fifteen-year-old girls. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 90(9):5077-5081, 2005.

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Liang L, Gunn SK, Darlington G, Ellis KJ. A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr. 82(2):471-476, 2005.

Chen Z, Griffin IJ, Plumlee LM, Abrams SA. High resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry allows rapid assessment of iron absorption in infants and children. J Nutr. 135(7):1790-1795, 2005.

Abrams SA. Calcium supplementation during childhood: long-term effects on bone mineralization. Nutr Rev. 63(7):251-255, 2005.

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Chen Z, Gunn SK, Wilde M, Darlington G, Shypailo RJ, Ellis KJ. Vitamin D receptor Fok1 polymorphisms affect calcium absorption, kinetics, and bone mineralization rates during puberty. J Bone Miner Res. 20(6):945-953, 2005.

Sakhaee K, Maalouf NM, Abrams SA, Pak CY. Effects of potassium alkali and calcium supplementation on bone turnover in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 90(6):3528-3533, 2005.

Griffin IJ, Abrams SA. Methodological considerations in measuring human calcium absorption: relevance to study the effects of inulin-type fructans. Br J Nutr. 93(Suppl 1):S105-110, 2005.

Rosado JL, Diaz M, Gonzalez K, Griffin I, Abrams SA, Preciado R. The addition of milk or yogurt to a plant-based diet increases zinc bioavailability but does not affect iron bioavailability in women. J Nutr. 135(3):465-468, 2005.

Smith SM, Wastney ME, O'Brien KO, Morukov BV, Larina IM, Abrams SA, Davis-Street JE, Oganov V, Shackelford LC. Bone markers, calcium metabolism, and calcium kinetics during extended-duration space flight on the mir space station. J Bone Miner Res. 20(2):208-218, 2005.

Perez-Exposito AB, Villalpando S, Rivera JA, Griffin IJ, Abrams SA. Ferrous sulfate is more bioavailable among preschoolers than other forms of iron in a milk-based weaning food distributed by PROGRESA, a national program in Mexico. J Nutr. 135(1):64-69, 2005.

Hawthorne KM, Abrams SA. Safety and efficacy of human milk fortification for very-low-birthweight infants. Nutr Rev. 62(12):482-485, 2004.

Graff M, Thacher TD, Fischer PR, Stadler D, Pam SD, Pettifor JM, Isichei CO, Abrams SA. Calcium absorption in Nigerian children with rickets. Am J Clin Nutr. 80(5):1415-1421, 2004.

Abrams SA. New approaches to iron fortification: role of bioavailability studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 80(5):1104-1105, 2004.

Hettiarachchi M, Hilmers DC, Liyanage C, Abrams SA. Na2EDTA enhances the absorption of iron and zinc from fortified rice flour in Sri Lankan children. J Nutr. 134(11):3031-3036, 2004.

Lowe NM, Woodhouse LR, Sutherland B, Shames DM, Burri BJ, Abrams SA, Turnlund JR, Jackson MJ, King JC. Kinetic parameters and plasma zinc concentration correlate well with net loss and gain of zinc from men. J Nutr. 134(9):2178-2181, 2004.

Vargas Zapata CL, Donangelo CM, Woodhouse LR, Abrams SA, Spencer EM, King JC. Calcium homeostasis during pregnancy and lactation in Brazilian women with low calcium intakes: a longitudinal study. Am J Clin Nutr. 80(2):417-422, 2004.

Griffin IJ, Hicks PD, Liang LK, Abrams SA. Metabolic adaptations to low zinc intakes in premenarcheal girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 80(2):385-390, 2004.

Hawthorne KM, Griffin IJ, Abrams SA. Current issues in nutritional management of very low birth weight infants. Minerva Pediatr. 56(4):359-372, 2004.

Griffin IJ, Kim SC, Hicks PD, Liang LK, Abrams SA. Zinc metabolism in adolescents with Crohn's disease. Pediatr Res. 56(2):235-239, 2004.

Avalos Mishaan AM, Zavaleta N, Griffin IJ, Hilmers DC, Hawthorne KM, Abrams SA. Bioavailability of iron and zinc from a multiple micronutrient-fortified beverage. J Pediatr. 145(1):26-31, 2004.

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hicks PD, Gunn SK. Pubertal girls only partially adapt to low dietary calcium intakes. J Bone Miner Res. 19(5):759-763, 2004.

Walter T, Pizarro F, Abrams SA, Boy E. Bioavailability of elemental iron powder in white wheat bread. Eur J Clin Nutr. 58(3):555-558, 2004.

Heaney RP, Abrams SA. Improved estimation of the calcium content of total digestive secretions. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 89(3):1193-1195, 2004.

Walter T, Pizarro F, Boy E, Abrams SA. The poor bioavailability of elemental iron in corn masa flour is not affected by disodium EDTA. J Nutr. 134(2):380-383, 2004.

Abrams SA, O'Brien KO. Calcium and bone mineral metabolism in children with chronic illnesses. Annu Rev Nutr. 24:13-32, 2004.

Shah M, Griffin IJ, Lifschitz CH, Abrams SA. Effect of orange and apple juices on iron absorption in children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 157(12):1232-1236, 2003.

Chen Z, Griffin IJ, Kriseman YL, Liang LK, Abrams SA. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric analysis of calcium isotopes in human serum: a low-sample-volume acid-equilibration method. Clin Chem. 49(12):2050-2055, 2003.

Ellis KJ, Shypailo RJ, Wong WW, Abrams SA. Bone mineral mass in overweight and obese children: diminished or enhanced? Acta Diabetol. 40(Suppl 1):S274-S277, 2003.

Diaz M, Rosado JL, Allen LH, Abrams S, Garcia OP. The efficacy of a local ascorbic acid-rich food in improving iron absorption from Mexican diets: a field study using stable isotopes. Am J Clin Nutr. 78(3):436-440, 2003.

Abrams SA, Atkinson SA. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D fortification of complementary foods. J Nutr. 133(9):2994S-2999S, 2003.

Abrams SA, Mushi A, Hilmers DC, Griffin IJ, Davila P, Allen L. A multinutrient-fortified beverage enhances the nutritional status of children in Botswana. J Nutr. 133(6):1834-1840, 2003.

Griffin IJ, Abrams SA. Zinc absorption by infants. Minerva Pediatr. 55(3):231-242, 2003.

O'Brien KO, Zavaleta N, Abrams SA, Caulfield LE. Maternal iron status influences iron transfer to the fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy. Am J Clin Nutr. 77(4):924-930, 2003.

Griffin IJ, Abrams SA. Methodological issues in stable isotope-based kinetic studies in children. Adv Exp Med Biol. 537:117-130, 2003.

Abrams SA. Using stable isotopes to assess the bioavailability of minerals in food-fortification programs. Forum Nutr. 56:312-3, 2003.

Abrams SA. Normal acquisition and loss of bone mass. Horm Res. 60(Suppl 3):71-76, 2003.

Abrams SA, Mushi A, Hilmers DC , Griffin IJ, Davila P, Allen A. A multi-nutrient-fortified beverage enhances the nutritional status of children in Botswana . J Nutr 2003;133:1834-40.

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Herman S . Using stable isotopes to assess the bioavailability of minerals in food-fortification programs. Food Nutr Bull 2002:23:158-165.

Shah, M, Griffin IJ, Lifschitz CF, Abrams SA. Effect of orange and apple juices on iron absorption in children. Arch Pediatr Adol Medicine 2003;157:1232-6.

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hicks PD, Gunn SK. Pubertal girls only partially adapt to low dietary calcium intakes Steven Abrams, MD; J Bone Min Res 2004 (In Press).

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Davila PM. Calcium and zinc absorption from lactose-containing and lactose-free infant formulas. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76:442-6.

Herman S, Griffin IJ, Suwarti S, Emawati F, Permaesih D, Pambudi D, Abrams SA. Co-fortification of iron fortified flour with zinc sulfate, but not zinc oxide, decreases iron absorption in Indonesian children Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:813-817

E-mail this page to a friend