What you need to know about Anaemia and Iron supplements

If you are suffering from Anaemia and you are taking an Iron Supplement there are questions we need to ask:
  • Should we actually be taking iron when we might be better off reducing inflammation first
  • How much Iron should we take?
  • When is the best and worst times to take Iron supplements?

Anemia of inflammation (AI)

Taking an iron supplement is not always the answer to anaemia as there is a protective enzyme created by our liver called Hepcidin that regulates our iron absorption.  For those who do not have a genetic or malignant cause of anaemia, the anaemia may be created by the high production of Hepcidin as a result of dietary iron overload or as a result of inflammatory conditions and disease in the our body.

“Anemia of inflammation (AI), previously known as anaemia of chronic diseases, is a moderate normochromic-normocytic anemia that develops in conditions of systemic inflammation and immune activation. It occurs in several common disorders, including chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, advanced cancer, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anemia of the elderly (at least partly), and graft versus host disease. AI is one of the most common anemias worldwide and the most frequent anemia in hospitalized patients.” Get the facts here
Then there are the foods that we eat everyday
Foods that inhibit absorption include plant components in vegetables, tea and coffee (e.g., polyphenols, phytates), and calcium! “Giving 165 mg Ca as milk, cheese, or calcium chloride reduced absorption by 50-60%”. Check the facts
So if it is desirable to take iron and iron containing foods here are our tips on how to get the best out of your iron supplement. 
  • Get maximum absorption by understanding how Iron interacts with food and drinks.
  • It is beneficial to take your iron intermittently eg every second day, in the morning with a breakfast that includes fruit and meusli soaked well over night, with little dairy and possibly a double dose. For an deep dive into this very important topic, especially for women read more
  • Vitamin C will aid in absorption of oral iron, particularly when taken with meals. The ratio of 2:1  will provide even higher levels of absorption. That is, about 6 mg of elemental ascorbic acid for each 1 mg of iron. Check your supplement to see if Vitamin C is included in your supplement or take it separately.
  • Include foods that enhance your iron levels: very well soaked then drained and then well cooked beans & lentils.
  • Cooked NZ spinach, citrus fruits and moderate amounts red meats are all healthy options.
We strongly suggest you understand and treat acute and chronic conditions and infections that result in inflammation with appropriate herbal and supplementary remedies.  Chronic inflammation is a major concern for many of our Bodywise customers. Even if you are a pregnant mum, an elder on medications or a teen with a chronic disease or infection do get in touch with us.
We are sure we can help you find the best way to improve your health and get those iron levels up!
Of course we are always available to chat at Bodywise about the best options for you!