Mary R. L'Abbé, Ph.D.
Earle W. McHenry Professor and Chair
Department of Nutritional Sciences

Ph: 416.978.7235
Fax: 416.971.2366


My research program spans three main areas:

  • Mineral and trace element bioavailability, absorption and their regulation at the cellular and molecular level, their role as antioxidants, and mineral interactions,

  • Food and nutrition policy including, nutrition labelling, health claims, food fortification, food-like NHPs, trans fat, sodium, and

  • Assessing and modelling nutrition policies and population intakes using national food consumption survey data, designing and analyzing surveys on consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to foods and nutrition, obesity and weight management, and the understanding/use of nutrition labels.    

Selected Publications (grouped by topic):                                                   

(i) Developing national nutrition strategies and policies Trans Fat:

  • Co-Chair of the Canadian Trans Fat Task Force: Report: TRANSforming the Food Supply, Final Report of the Trans Fat Task Force, submitted to the Minister of Health and House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (June 2006)

  • Ratnayake WMN, L’Abbé MR, Farnworth S, Dumais L. et al. (2009).  Trans- fatty acids: Current contents in Canadian foods and estimated intake levels for the Canadian population.  J. AOAC Int 92: 1258-77.

  • L’Abbé MR, Stender S, Skeaff M, Ghafoorunissa, Tavella M. 2009. Approaches to removing trans fats from the food supply in industrialized and developing countries. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 63: S50–S67.

  • Uauy R, Aro A, Clarke R, Ghafoorunissa, L’Abbé M, Mozaffarian D, Skeaff M, Stender, Tavella M. 2008. WHO Scientific Update on trans fatty acids: summary and conclusions. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 63: S68–S75.


Dietary Reference Intakes:

  • Yetley EA, Brulé D, Cheney MC, Davis CD, Esslinger KA, Fischer PWF, Friedl KE, Greene-Finestone LS, Gunther PM, Klurfeld DM, L’Abbé MR, McMurry KY, Starke-Reed PE, Trumbo PR. 2009. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin D: justification for a review of the 1997 values. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 89: 719-729.

Health Claims:

  • L’Abbé MR, Dumais L, Chao E, Junkins B. 2008. Health Claims on Foods in Canada. J. Nutr. 138: 1221S-1227S.

  • L’Abbé MR, Whiting S, Hanley D. 2004. The Canadian health claim for calcium,
    vitamin D and osteoporosis. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 23: 303-308.

Food Fortification:

  • L’Abbé, MR, Cockell, KA, and Lee, NS. 2003 Micronutrient supplementation: When is best and why? Proc. Nutr. Soc. 62: 413-20.

  • Johnson-Down L, L’Abbé MR, Lee NS, Gray-Donald K. 2003. Appropriate calcium fortification of food supply presents a challenge J. Nutr. 133: 2232-2238.

  • L’Abbé MR, Cockell KA, Dubois S and Ross WH. 2000. Nutrient risk assessment: Implications for food fortification policy. In: Trace Elements in Man and Animals - 10: Roussel AM, Anderson RA, Favier A, (eds) pp. 215-219. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, NY.  

(ii) Minerals and Trace Elements:

  • Benkhedda K, L’Abbé MR, Cockell KA. (2009)  Effect of calcium on iron absorption in women with marginal iron stores. Br. J. Nutr  2009 Oct 28: 1-7 [Epub ahead of print].

  • Cockell KA, Bertinato J, L’Abbé MR. 2008. Regulatory frameworks for copper considering chronic exposures of the population. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 88: 863S-866S.

  • Bertinato J, L’Abbé MR. 2008. Maintaining copper balance: Roles of copper transporters and chaperones. Cell Biol. Toxicol. (Advance online DOI 10.1007/s10565-008-9080-z).

  • Bertinato J, Swist E, Plouffe LJ, Brooks SP, L’Abbé MR. 2008. Ctr2 is partially localized to the plasma membrane and stimulates copper uptake in COS-7 cells. Biochem. J. 409: 731-40.

  • Bertinato J, Hidiroglou N, Peace R, Cockell KA, Trick KD, Jee P, Giroux A., Madere R, Bonacci G, Iskandar M, Hayward S, Giles N, L’Abbé MR. 2007. Sparing effects of selenium and ascorbic acid on vitamin C and E in guinea pig tissues. Nutr. J. 6: 1-9.

  • Wong MC, Portmann B, Sherwood R, Niemela O, Koivisto H, Parkkila S, Trick K, L'Abbe MR, Wilson J, Dash PR, Srirajaskanthan R, Preedy VR, Wiseman H. 2007. The cytoprotective effect of alpha-tocopherol and daidzein against d-galactosamine-induced oxidative damage in the rat liver. Metabolism 56: 865-75.

  • Cooper MJ, Cockell KA, L’Abbé MR. 2006. Iron status of Canadian adolescents and adults: current knowledge and practical implications. Can. J. Dietetic Pract. Res. 67: 130-138.

  • Bertinato J, L’Abbé MR. 2004. Maintaining copper homeostasis: Regulation of Copper-trafficking proteins in response to copper deficiency or overload. J. Nutr. Biochem. 15: 316-322.

(iii) Chapters, Books, Reports

  • L’Abbé MR, Lewis JM, Zehaluk C. 2009 (In Press). Chapter 13 - The Potential of the Codex Alimentarius to Promote Healthy Diets Worldwide – the Canadian Experience in Implementation. 
    In: Trade, Food, Diet and Health - Perspectives and Policy Options.  Hawkes C, Blouin C, Henson S, Drager N, Dubé L (eds) Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Managing Health Claims for Foods in Canada: Towards a Modernized Framework*,
    Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, Health Canada (November, 2007).

  • Principles and Methods for the Assessment of Risk from Essential Trace Elements*. WHO Environmental Criteria, No. 228. 2002. Member of Task Group and contributing author. World Health Organization, Geneva.





Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto
FitzGerald Building, Room 315
150 College Street
Toronto, ON
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