Iron is the top nutritional deficiency in the world, with as many as 80% of people not having enough iron in their body according to the World Health Organisation. Furthermore, an estimated third of the UK population suffer from anaemia.
Typically, those with low iron levels are prescribed oral iron supplementation, but not all iron supplements are created equal. So which iron supplement should you be taking?
What are the different forms of iron?
There are two categories of iron supplements, those which contain the ferrous form and those which contain the ferric form. These are the two chemical forms which iron can exist;
Ferrous iron (Fe+2) is the reduced form of iron, which means it is susceptible to oxidation within the body.
Ferric iron (Fe+3) is the oxidised form of iron which make it less reactive than the ferrous form, meaning it is less likely to act as a free radical and damage cells once within the body.
Which form of iron is best?
One specific form of ferric iron, known as ferric EDTA, has been the subject of a large clinical trial demonstrating its superiority over other forms.
The trial, published in the Tanzanian Journal of Health Research, shows how a 5mg supplement of this form of iron provided the same increase in iron levels as a 10mg ferrous iron supplement.
Ferric EDTA reduces the oxidative stress imposed on the body by the more reactive ferrous forms of this element which are known to cause more side effects.
Will it still cause side effects?
Irrespective of the type of iron, any iron supplement which travels through the digestive system will have gastrointestinal side effects such as abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and constipation.
As iron is hard on the digestive tract, only a fraction of the iron consumed will be absorbed, leaving the remaining iron to sit in the stomach, liver and large intestines, causing irritation.
Our Iron Oral Spray offers a solution to the digestive discomfort and poor absorption experienced from traditionally ingested iron supplements as it does not rely on primary processing by the digestive system, instead absorption begins immediately in the mouth.
The spray provides 5mg of the less reactive Ferric EDTA form of iron and doesn't need to be taken on an empty stomach like most iron supplements.