Understanding Your Iron Needs. An expert opinion.

By Jaclyn Jacobsen, MS
Christine Sandu, Unsplash

Iron is an essential mineral required for blood production, 70% of which is located in your red blood cells, specifically hemoglobin. Hemoglobin’s main function is to transfer oxygen into your blood from the lungs thus low iron can lead to poor oxygenation throughout the body.

According to the National Institutes of Health, iron also plays a role in metabolism, physical growth and the synthesis of hormones. It is present in two forms, heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal-based products such as meat, poultry and fish, while non-heme iron is primarily in plant-based foods such as spinach and whole grains. Heme iron is more easily absorbed, however those who consume a plant-based diet do not typically showcase signs of iron deficiency (anemia). 

Best for those with a Deficiency

MegaFood Blood Builder Daily Iron Supplement

Iron absorption is supported by other nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and vitamin B12. MegaFood Blood Builder has incorporated all these additional nutrients along with iron to support better absorption, which is helpful for those with a diagnosed deficiency.

Summary of MegaFood Blood Builder Daily Iron Supplement:
  • Improves blood levels of iron
  • Can take on an empty stomach
  • Improve energy levels

Most Gentle on the Gut

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Iron Complex

With added digestive enzymes and probiotics, the Garden of Life Iron Complex is a smart choice for those with sensitive digestion or food intolerances. Absorption should not be a problem due to the addition of vitamins C, B12 and folate.

Summary of Garden of Life Vitamin Code Iron Complex:
  • Organic
  • Whole food based
  • Vegan

Best for Stress

Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Beef Liver (Desiccated)

For those who experience high stress or anxiety, Ancestral Supplements grass fed beef liver contains the nutrients known to be depleted during times of high stress. Liver is rich in iron, vitamin D, A, K, E, B12 and folate which may support decreases in stress and work synergistically with iron.

Summary of Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Beef Liver:
  • Whole food supplement
  • Non-GMO
  • Made from grass fed beef

What You Need to Know

Iron intake is typically sufficient through dietary sources, however some populations are at higher risk of deficiency such as women, children, vegetarians and frequent blood donors.

Supplemental iron is usually recommended by your doctor once you have been tested and diagnosed with anemia considering too much iron can cause toxicity and lead to oxidative damage. Your doctor may also prescribe ferrous sulfate which is an iron-based medication especially to treat iron deficiency.

When looking for an iron supplement, review the supplement label for a product that has food-based sources of iron along with the nutrients that improve absorption such as vitamins C, B12 and folate.

Also make sure the product contains the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) which is 18mg for women and 8mg for men.

Our Remedy Review:

Why would you take Iron? 

Supplemental iron should be taken if you have been diagnosed with low blood levels or deficiency (anemia).

Is it worth your money?

If blood work shows you have an iron deficiency than yes, it is worth investing in.

Who is best for?

Women who are menstruating or pregnant, children, older adults and those who have difficulty eating whole foods. Always consult with your doctor before proceeding with iron supplementation.

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