Iron Intake, How supplements & methods are used to Increase or Decrease
What is Iron Deficiency?
A decreased level of hemoglobin in the human red blood cells leads to a condition called anemia. Responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues of the human body, hemoglobin is the protein in the RBCs. The most common type of anemia is known as iron deficiency anemia which occurs when the body doesn’t have sufficient amounts of iron content that it needs to make hemoglobin leading to serious problems.
Iron deficiency is a condition that occurs when there is a lack of iron in the body. Iron is a mineral that is essential for producing hemoglobin, which is a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. When there is not enough iron, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin, leading to anemia.
This condition can cause a range of symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and pale skin. Iron deficiency is usually caused by a lack of iron in the diet, poor absorption of iron by the body, or blood loss. The treatment for iron deficiency usually involves increasing iron intake through dietary changes or iron supplements, and correcting any underlying causes.
Without knowing the cause it is possible to experience symptoms over a span of several years. Loss of iron content in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy in women of childbearing age might be a common cause of iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is also caused by certain intestinal diseases which affect the capability of the human body to absorb iron or a poor diet.
Main Reasons of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is a common condition that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron. There are several reasons why someone might develop iron deficiency, including:
- Blood loss: Blood loss due to menstruation, childbirth, injury, surgery, or internal bleeding can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
- Poor dietary intake: A diet that is low in iron can lead to iron deficiency over time. Foods high in iron include red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Malabsorption: Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron from the diet.
- Rapid growth: Infants and children during periods of rapid growth, such as during infancy and puberty, have an increased need for iron and can develop iron deficiency.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women need more iron to support the growth of the fetus and can develop iron deficiency if their dietary intake or iron stores are insufficient.
- Chronic disease: Chronic diseases, such as kidney disease or cancer, can increase the body’s need for iron or interfere with its ability to absorb iron from the diet.
It’s important to diagnose and treat iron deficiency, as it can lead to health problems and affect overall well-being if left untreated.
A brief introduction of Iron Bisglycinate
Iron Bisglycinate is a supplement that is generally provided in the form of chelated iron. Formed by the reaction of two amino acid glycine molecules with ferrous iron by a bound which is covalent in a process known as chelation, Iron Bisglycinate is made up of a Chelate of iron amino acid.
- Due to the fewer side effects in the gastrointestinal tract, Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) is claimed to have better compliance with the patient. As compared to the conventionally used iron salts, Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) is claimed to have a better effect on the improvement of hemoglobin level increase, storage, and iron absorption.
- Iron Bisglycinate is formed by a covalent bond. Compared to the other iron salts the hemoglobin level and storage of iron are improved along with better absorption of iron with the use of Iron Bisglycinate. Due to the pharmacological properties of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC), the bioavailability is higher than the other iron salts.
- The tolerance level of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) is higher than the other iron salts due to the lesser likelihood of adverse effects in the gastrointestinal tract for its high bioavailability.
- During the time of pregnancy, the consumption of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) for 8 weeks of consumption has shown an increase in the levels of hemoglobin in the patient’s body.
- On the consumption of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) by women, the indices including serum ferritin have also shown a significant increase. The randomized clinical trials show that iron glycine sulfate has a greater adverse effect when compared to Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) in terms of good compliance, efficacy, and better tolerance.
Excessive Iron content in human blood and its effects
There is too much iron absorbed by the human body from the diet which can cause a disease known as hereditary hemochromatosis. Especially stored in the pancreas, heart, and liver, some of the life-threatening conditions that might arise include diabetes, heart problems, and liver disease that can result from excess iron stores in the human body.
Though a minority of people has the genes that cause hemochromatosis to develop serious problems, it is generally inherited.
The symptoms and the signs of hereditary hemochromatosis are usually expected to appear in the mid-life of a human being. The treatment that is used to regulate the excess iron content involves the removal of blood from the human body. This treatment leads to the reduction of red blood cells which is the storehouse of most of the iron content in the human blood.
Symptoms of excess iron content in the human body
Memory fog, grey or bronze skin color, failure of the liver, heart failure, impotence, loss of sex drive, diabetes, weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, and joint pain or some of the symptoms and signs of hereditary hemochromatosis.
The signs and symptoms of other common conditions overlap with the early-stage symptoms of hemochromatosis. The majority of the population does not experience symptoms and science of hemochromatosis until later in life, usually 60 years old for women and 40 years old for men. However, hemochromatosis which is hereditary in nature is usually present at birth for most people.
Diagnosis of hemochromatosis:
Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb and store excessive amounts of iron. This can lead to iron overload and the accumulation of excess iron in various organs, including the liver, heart, and pancreas, which can result in a range of serious health problems.
Diagnosis of hemochromatosis typically involves several steps, including:
Medical history: Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, including any family history of hemochromatosis.
Blood tests: Blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and serum iron studies, can help determine if you have iron overload.
Liver function tests: Elevated liver enzyme levels may indicate liver damage due to iron overload.
Genetic testing: A genetic test can confirm the presence of the HFE gene mutation, which is associated with the most common form of hemochromatosis.
Imaging studies: Imaging studies, such as liver MRI or CT scans, can help assess the extent of iron overload in the liver.
It’s important to note that not all people with hemochromatosis will experience symptoms, so they may be unaware they have the condition. Regular blood tests and monitoring can help detect iron overload and prevent complications.
Even if the level of iron in the blood is restored to normal after a couple of weeks, to restore the iron levels in the bone marrow, it is important to consistently take the supplement for at least another 6 months. A consultation with the doctor is required before stopping the intake of iron supplements.
After reaching a certain threshold in terms of levels of hemoglobin iron deficiency and anemia are diagnosed in adults. Unless that happens iron deficiency anemia is not suspected. A value less than 12.0 gm/dl is considered for women and a value list than 13.5 gm/dl is considered for adult men in case of diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia.
Pregnancy, chronic blood loss, and lack of iron content in an individual’s diet are the common causes for which an individual might be diagnosed with iron deficiency. The inability to absorb iron from the diet can also lead to iron deficiency. In that case, the iron injections should be administered for the treatment purposes of the patients, when the oral methods become ineffective. However, most of the time, iron deficiency is treated with iron supplementation or by setting up a diet plan which includes iron-rich food.
A study was done to compare the effects and tolerability of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate and iron sulfate. A similar dosage of 50 mg was given to both groups of individuals of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate and Ferrous Sulphate respectively. The side effects of iron sulfate were found to be 37% as compared to the lesser 21% in that of Iron Bisglycinate Chelate. Thus Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (FeBC) can be considered to be a better alternative than iron sulfate.
Taking the iron supplements that have been administered intravenously or taking iron orally along with the Vitamin C supplementation is often the quickest way to replenish the iron stores of the individual’s body who have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. The Red Blood Cells are responsible for taking and carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body, which requires the production of hemoglobin in the red blood cells caused by the presence of iron stores in the human body.
A positive effect has been observed on increasing the concentration of ferritin in school children with stores of low iron after supplementing with 30 mg/d of elementary iron either as Iron Bisglycinate Chelate or as Ferrous Sulphate for 90 days. The effects were observed to persist for 6 months after supplementation.
The replenishment of iron stores in an individual’s body who is been diagnosed with iron deficiency isn’t an overnight process. The process of replenishing the iron reserves of the body might take up to as long as several months since it is a gradual process. However, the improvement in the health of the patient might be observed within a week or so after the supplementation of iron is started. The measurement of iron stores in the body should be done with a blood test conducted under the supervision and recommendation of a doctor or a medical expert.