by Frederick Cheng, R.Ph., and Christine Cheng, R.Ph.
IRON is a key element that is important in the body’s daily metabolism. It is required for growth, development, and oxygen management. Lacking iron in the body could lead to issues such as chronic fatigue, decreased exercise capacity, and the most common form of anemia known as “iron-deficiency anemia”. Meats, beans, lentils, and nuts are some of the most common dietary sources of iron. How much iron we need to supplement with is very dependent on age, sex, and diet. If you tend to be vegetarian, you would require twice as much iron supplementation because our bodies cannot absorb the non-heme iron in plant sources as well as it can heme iron from animal sources. Taking a vitamin C tablet with your meals or iron supplement will help maximize absorption.
While economical, a common issue with traditional ferrous gluconate/sulfate/fumarate is that there is a higher risk for poor absorption and under-utilization of the elemental iron. This could lead to a multitude of side-effects, including constipation and gastro-intestinal malaise. Polysaccharide iron complexes (eg. Feramax), and heme iron polypeptides (eg. New Roots Herbal’s “Heme Iron” with 5MTHF/folate, Vit.B12 and Vit.C) can dramatically improve absorption. Heme iron preparations have the added benefit of being already in a form that the red blood cells can use for carrying oxygen, so there tends to be a more immediate response in enhancing energy levels.
Flora Health’s “Ferritin+” takes things even further. Ferritin is a naturally protein-coated storage form of iron that is found in many organisms, including algae, bacteria, higher plants, and animals. The protein coating allows it to be a timed-release formula as well as offer maximum absorption; the ferratin in Ferritin+ is derived from organic peas. Just one capsule a day is typically adequate to maintain healthy iron levels, and it is even safe during pregnancy. As usual, it is highly-encouraged to have your symptoms professionally assessed by a physician and be sure to consult your integrative pharmacist such as those at Cloverdale Pharmasave and Pharmasave Steveston Village regarding safe, efficient, and effective iron supplementation for your individual case.
Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Find them on Instagram and Facebook! Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore.
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