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Not All Iron Is The Same. What are the Different Types of Iron Supplements?

Not All Iron Is The Same. What are the Different Types of Iron Supplements?

What are the Different Types of Iron Supplements?

If you've been feeling tired and run down lately, it might be time to consider adding an iron supplement to your daily routine. Iron is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in transporting oxygen to your cells and tissues. It's also necessary for the proper function of your immune systemIron deficiency is quite common, particularly among women of childbearing age. Luckily, there are a variety of different iron supplements available to help you get the iron you need. There are many options on the market and it can be difficult to know which is right for you. Here's a quick overview of the different types of iron supplements available to help you make an informed decision.

Ferrous Sulfate

One of the most popular and commonly prescribed iron supplements is ferrous sulfate. This form of iron is easily absorbed by your body and is often used to treat iron deficiency anemia. A common side effect is constipation. Other side effects may include, diarrhea, stomach upset, and black stools. Ferrous sulfate can cause nausea and vomiting in some people. 

Ferrous Gluconate

Ferrous gluconate is another type of iron supplement that is commonly used to treat iron deficiency anemia. This form of iron is also easily absorbed by your body and comes in both tablet and liquid form. Ferrous gluconate may cause fewer digestive side effects than ferrous sulfate but can still cause stomach upset, constipation, and diarrhea in some people. To avoid these side effects, take your supplement with food or split your dose into smaller doses taken throughout the day.  View our Ferrous +C product information.

Ferric Sulfate

This form of iron has a slower release which makes it less likely to cause digestive side effects such as stomach upset, constipation, or diarrhea. Because it has a slower release, it may take longer for you to see results from this type of supplement. 

Why Ferrous Gluconate is Better Absorbed

Ferrous gluconate is a chemical compound that is used to treat iron deficiency anemia. It is also used as a supplement to prevent iron deficiency anemia in people with chronic kidney disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis. Ferrous gluconate is better absorbed than other forms of iron such as ferrous sulfate. This is because ferrous gluconate contains less elemental iron per dose and is more slowly released into the bloodstream.

How Iron Deficiency Anemia Develops

Iron is a mineral that is found in food and is necessary for the body to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron deficiency anemia develops when there is not enough iron in the body to make hemoglobin. This can happen if you do not have enough iron in your diet or if your body cannot absorb iron from the food you eat. Iron deficiency anemia can also occur if you lose blood or if you are pregnant. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

How Ferrous Gluconate Works

Ferrous gluconate is a chemical compound that contains elemental iron. Elemental iron is the form of iron that the body can use to make hemoglobin. When ferrous gluconate is taken by mouth, it is slowly released into the bloodstream where it can be used by the body to make hemoglobin. The release of ferrous gluconate into the bloodstream is thought to be more gradual than with other forms of iron such as ferrous sulfate. As a result, ferrous gluconate may cause fewer side effects such as gastrointestinal upset and constipation. 

How Iron is Absorbed

There are two types of iron – heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which makes up 40 percent of the iron in meat, poultry, and fish, is well absorbed. Non-heme iron, 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue and all the iron in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts) is less well absorbed. Non-heme iron is also less bioavailable than heme iron because it does not contain any helper molecules that aid in its absorption. 

Ferrous gluconate is a type of non-heme iron that has been shown to be well-absorbed by the body. In one study, researchers found that ferrous gluconate was better absorbed than other types of non-heme iron including ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferric pyrophosphate (1). 

When it comes to iron supplements, there are a lot of options on the market. So, why ferrous gluconate? Ferrous gluconate is one of the most easily absorbed forms of iron. It is also less likely to cause stomach upset than other forms of iron. If you are looking for an iron supplement that will be gentle on your stomach and that your body can easily absorb, Ferrous +C is a great option.

Talk to your doctor about which type of supplement would be best for you based on your individual needs and health condition.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179197

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