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Do I need to take iron?

Iron is an essential mineral, necessary to produce haemoglobin, which plays an important role in storing and transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, including the muscles for healthy muscle contraction. Iron levels are tightly controlled within the body, with levels regulated by absorption rather than excretion, and many factors can hinder the amount of iron absorbed within the gastrointestinal tract.

Haem iron vs non-haem iron
There are two forms of dietary iron known as haem and non-haem iron:

  • Haem iron can be found in animal-based foods, including red meats, poultry and fish
  • Non-haem iron can be found in plant-based foods, including nuts, legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables

    Iron levels are tightly controlled within the body, with levels regulated by absorption rather than excretion, and many factors can hinder the amount of iron absorbed within the gastrointestinal tract. 

    Iron absorption
    Haem iron is more soluble and readily absorbed by the body when compared to non-haem iron. Non-haem iron is less soluble and poorly absorbed as it’s easily disrupted and inhibited by some foods including tea, coffee, milk, wholegrains and chocolate. Combining foods rich in vitamin C with non-haem iron-based foods helps to solubilise and enhance the absorption of iron from the digestive tract. Haem iron is thought to have 2-3 times greater absorption than non-haem iron. Iron supplementation may be beneficial when dietary intake is inadequate, and deficiency is common in vegetarians, vegans, the elderly, adolescence and pregnancy.

    Iron and B vitamins
    Some B vitamins, particularly vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folic acid, when combined with iron, provide important cofactors that help to maintain blood health:

    • Vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folic acid are important for the production of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body in red blood cells
    • Vitamins B2 and B12 and folic acid are necessary for the production of red blood cells for oxygen transport
    • Vitamin B12 is necessary for oxygen transport in red blood cells

    Types of supplementary iron
    There are a number of organic (i.e. ferrous bisglycinate) and non-organic (i.e. ferrous sulphate) forms of non-haem iron available for supplementation. Ferrous sulphate is commonly prescribed medically, and gastrointestinal irritation is common. Ferrous bisglycinate is highly bioavailable and is well tolerated and gentle on the digestive system.

    Albion’s Ferrochel® iron absorption
    Ferrochel®, in the form of ferrous bisglycinate, is made up of one molecule of iron, bound to two molecules of the amino acid glycine, which creates small, organic bound iron molecules. Ferrochel® remains intact during absorption and can easily pass through the intestinal wall due to its small molecular size, making it highly bioavailable.
    Also, as Ferrochel® iron remains intact and does not dissociate or become separated from the glycine molecules in the stomach, iron absorption isn’t affected by other dietary factors as is the case with some iron supplements that release unbound or dissociated iron in the stomach. Unbound iron may also prove irritating to the digestive system, leading to gastric upsets and digestive disturbances. Ferrochel® provides a highly bioavailable, stable source of bound organic iron that is well tolerated and gentle on the digestive system. See more here: Organic Iron MAX

    Supplementary iron can be used to:

    • Help prevent a dietary iron deficiency
    • Support iron levels in the body
    • Support energy production
    • Maintain nervous system health and function
    • Assist the production of neurotransmitters
    • Support a healthy pregnancy
    • Maintain general health and wellbeing

     

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