Paz Etcheverry, Ph.D.
Instructor, Baylor College of Medicine
Prior Appointment: Postdoctoral Associate, Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
MS North Carolina State University-Raleigh, NC
Ph.D. Cornell University-Ithaca, NY
Postdoctoral Fellowship Baylor College of Medicine-Houston, TX
Micronutrient malnutrition is a current problem that affects millions of people worldwide. This problem not only affects a person’s health and well being. It also impacts a person’s productivity and potential as a human being. Iron deficiency is without a doubt the most prevalent nutrient deficiency in the world, affecting as many as 2 billion people worldwide. While we lack figures on the extent of zinc deficiency (because of no simple clinical screening procedure), specialists in zinc nutrition consider zinc and iron deficiencies to be of similar extent and distribution.
Poor bioavailability of these minerals from foods is probably the number one cause for their deficiencies. Compounds such as polyphenols and phytates both present in crops (such as wheat, rice, maize, etc) and certain proteins inhibit iron and zinc absorption. Since in many nations food crops represent a vital component of the diet, it is not hard to imagine why mineral deficiencies are so widespread.
Currently, I am using an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell culture model to study how absorbable these two minerals are from foods. The Caco-2 cells are a human adenocarcinoma cell line which differentiates into intestinal-like cells upon culture. By assessing the mineral uptake by these cells, one can get a sense of the mineral availability from foods. Nowadays, I am involved in a multidisciplinary project, involving plant physiologists, plant breeders, biochemists, nutritionists, etc, to improve the mineral quality of crops.
Paz Etcheverry, Gordon Carstens, Erin G. Brown, Keli M. Hawthorne, Zhensheng Chen and Ian J. Griffin. 2006. The production of stable-isotopically labeled bovine heme and its use to measure heme iron absorption in children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in press.
Paz Etcheverry, Keli M. Hawthorne, Lily K. Liang, Steven A. Abrams and Ian J. Griffin. 2006. Effect of beef and soy proteins on the absorption of non-heme iron and inorganic zinc in children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 25 (1): 34-40.
Paz Etcheverry, Ian J. Griffin and Steven A. Abrams. 2005. Micronutrient deficiencies: New solutions to a seemingly irresolvable problem. Harvard Health Policy Review 6 (1): 77-86.
Paz Etcheverry, John C. Wallingford, Dennis D. Miller and Raymond P. Glahn. 2005. The effects of calcium salts, ascorbic acid and peptic pH on Ca, Zn and Fe bioavailabilities from fortified human milk using an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 75 (3): 171-178.
Paz Etcheverry, Dennis D. Miller and Raymond P. Glahn. 2004. A low molecular weight factor in human milk whey promotes iron uptake by Caco-2 cells. Journal of Nutrition 134: 93-98.
Paz Etcheverry, Jessica Wissler, Gary Wortley and Ray Glahn. 2004. Caco-2 cell Fe uptake from human milk and infant formula. Nutrition Research 24: 573-579.
Paz Etcheverry, John C. Wallingford, Dennis D. Miller and Raymond P. Glahn. 2004. Calcium, zinc and iron bioavailabilities from a commercial human milk fortifier: a comparison study. Journal of Dairy Science 87: 3629-3637.
Paz Etcheverry, John C. Wallingford, Dennis D. Miller and Raymond P. Glahn. 2002. Simultaneous determination of 45Calcium and 65Zinc uptake by Caco-2 cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50: 6287-6294.