Iron absorption can be measured by the incorporation of stable iron isotopes into erythrocytes, 14 days after isotope administration. The disadvantage of this method is the high dose of isotopes needed to obtain a sufficient enrichment. Therefore, in this study cell fractions rich in young erythroid cells were prepared by using a density separation method. From 10 women blood was taken 4, 5, and 7 days after oral and intravenous administration of 57Fe and 58Fe. In these cell fractions and in whole blood taken 14 days after isotope administration, isotope enrichment was measured and absorption calculated. Absorption calculated from the isotope enrichment in the reticulocyte-rich cell fractions (12.2 ± SEM 3.7%) was not significantly different from absorption based on higher isotope enrichment was found in the cell fractions, the required dose of stable isotopes can be reduced to one-third of the dose used in the traditional method without loss of sensitivity.