Iron Deficiency & Anemia

Why do you need iron?

  • Iron is essential in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the molecule that allows red blood cells to bind oxygen and transport this oxygen to the body’s tissues and cells
  • Iron deficiency leads to Symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, hair loss, dizziness, pale skin, and headaches
  • Severe iron deficiency leads to iron deficiency “anemia” = low red blood cell number

What causes iron deficiency?

  • Low intake (diet)
  • Low absorption (intestinal dysfunction)
  • Increased loss (blood loss)
  • Increased demand (recovery + growth)

What are some tests you can do to identify if you have iron deficiency or anemia?

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) – measures amount and size of red blood cells
  • Serum iron
  • Ferritin (measures iron storage)
  • Optional: Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), Transferrin Saturation – measures amount of iron bound to transport molecules

What are the best food sources of iron?

The top 10 richest food sources of iron, with iron content per 100 grams, are:

  • Dried herbs (Thyme, Parsley, Spearmint, Black Pepper, Marjoram) – 67.7mg
  • Liver (beef, pork, chicken) – 28mg
  • Clams – 28mg
  • Oysters – 7.8mg
  • Fortified breakfast cereals – 6.3mg
  • White beans – 5.1mg
  • Lentils – 3.3mg
  • Spinach – 2.7mg
  • Tofu – 2.4mg
  • Dark chocolate – 2.4mg

What are the best oral iron supplements?

The iron supplements with the highest absorbability and lowest gastrointestinal side effects are:

  • Sucrosomial Iron
  • Heme iron
  • Liposomal Microencapsulated iron
  • Ferrous Bisglycinate

See below for more details

What about intravenous iron?

  • Fast + effective, but increased risk for adverse events!

How to best take oral iron?

  • For iron deficiency without anemia, take 30mg elemental iron 1x daily
  • For iron deficiency with anemia take 30mg elemental iron 2-3x daily
  • Use the iron supplement of your choice for 90 days or until deficiency is resolved
  • Test regularly (at least every 2-3 months to know when to stop supplementing)

For best absorption take iron

  • together with a Vitamin C source
  • at least 2h away from
    • Food
    • Coffee/tea
    • Antacids
    • Mineral supplements

Comparison of iron Supplements

Type

Brand name

Form

Absorbability

Gastro-Intestinal Disturbance

Sucrosomial

Sideral

caps, sachets, drops

High

Low

Heme iron

Proferrin, Globifer

caps

High

Low

Liposomal microencapsulated ferric iron

Lipoglobin, Lipoglobin drops, Lipofer, FerFer, Ferrolip

drops, syrup, sachets

High

Low

Ferrous (bis)glycinate

Easy iron

caps

Moderate

Low

Iron complex succinylate

Ferplex

liquid

High

Low

Contraindicated in dairy/caseine intolerance

Ferrous gluconate

 

caps

Low

High

Ferrous fumarate

 

caps

Low

High

Ferrous sulphate

Tardyferon, Pediafer

caps, drops

Low

High

May increase inflammation post-surgery

Polysaccharide iron complex

Niferex

caps

Low

Low – but so far unproven

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Contact me to learn how naturopathic functional medicine can help to restore balance within your body and relieve your symptoms both naturally and effectively. 

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