There is no regulatory mechanism for the removal of iron that accumulates in the body. Thalassemia patients are most affected by iron overload. The method often used in the treatment of these patients is iron chelation therapy, which involves removing excess iron from the bloodstream, but it is insufficient. Nutritional supplements and herbal remedies are complementary tools that may help improve the health of an individual with iron load. Here, we tried to develop a method that affecting intestinal absorption in an animal model with clinoptilolite feeding to reduce the iron load in the circulation. 32 rats were divided into 4 groups as control, Cli, Iron, Cli+Iron. Iron and Cli+Iron groups received iron at a dose of 250 mg/kg/day for 10 days, and Cli and Cli+Iron groups were fed a diet with 50% clinoptilolite for one month. Histological preparation and Fe2+, Cu2+, Zn2+ measurements were done in all tissues. Consequently, clinoptilolite significantly lowered the iron level in the stomach. On the contrary, iron absorption was increased in the small intestine, but iron transportation to the blood was decreased by clinoptilolite. The iron levels of clinoptilolite groups (Cli and Cli+Iron) were reduced in the tissues of heart, lung, liver, kidney, and spleen because of the different level of iron necessities of each tissue compared to the group with iron overload. The clinoptilolite could preserve organs against iron toxicity by enhancing the absorption of iron in the small intestine but lowering the iron level in blood. Even though there was no detailed information regarding the mechanism of reduction iron overload by the clinoptilolite, serum and chyme could help to make some helpful inferences to elucidate the mechanism of iron chelation.
Key words: Clinoptilolite, Iron overload, heavy metal accumulation, atomic absorption spectrophotometry