The new Iron supplement is out from BN Multivitamins.
Iron is a mineral which forms an important part of your haemoglobin – the component of red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body. With insufficient supply of iron, stores in your body deplete, which impacts your ability to make haemoglobin. You’ll feel this by a lack of energy, you may feel faint at times. It is also true that severe iron deficiency can lead you to an odd desire to eat dirt or crunch on ice.
Blood tests may be either just a full blood count which shows haemoglobin or an iron studies test which measures a range of iron related substances which reflects your total stores.
Reasons why you may be low can include, genetic predisposition, low iron intake from food, poor absorption from food and other substances that interfere with the absorption of iron.
Poor absorption of iron may be caused by bypassing the first two segments of your small intestine where much of the iron is absorbed, such as may occur after a gastrointestinal cancer, or gastric bypass for weight loss surgery.
It may also be caused by low stomach acid from taking antacids or drugs for reflux called proton pump inhibitors.
Iron absorption is improved by Vitamin C intake at the same time as plant based iron containing foods or from supplements. Foods that interfere with iron absorption include phytates found in wheat bran, and tannins in tea and coffee, so tea and coffee are best consumed between meals and not with food that is an important source of iron.
Our bodies do a good job of increasing iron absorption when we are low and reducing absorption when it is plentiful, which helps to a certain degree.
I find it helpful to be able to prescribe a range of iron supplements with varying levels of elemental iron.
If you have been found to be iron deficient then I would recommend a very high dose supplement, usually with around 100mg of elemental iron. These can sometimes cause gastric upset or constipation and so we may manipulate the timing and frequency of the dosage or the actual chemical form that the iron is delivered in to get the best outcome.
If you are on a reflux medication, are known to have poor stomach acid or have had a weight loss surgery like sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass then BN Iron is a good intermediate dosage. The BN Bariatric multivitamin has 18 – 24mg of iron depending on whether you are using the chewable or the capsule respectively. The latest nutritional guidelines for bariatric surgery recommend the addition of a further 24mg of elemental iron for premenopausal women.
Iron comes in different forms which can affect it’s availability for absorption and also it’s likelihood of side effects. Bn iron is Ferrous fumarate which is well absorbed, but can cause irritation in higher doses, so I think the addition of 24mg is a safe level even for those who know they get constipation from the high dose supplements.
If you need assistance to determine your dietary adequacy, you can book an appointment here.