Q. Dear Terry, “At my last doctor’s appointment, I was told my iron levels were low-normal and I was almost anemic. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, which I know is a good source of iron. I would rather just take an iron supplement. What should I look for in an iron supplement?” – Riley N., Allentown, PA
A. Dear Riley, Anemia can be due to a variety of causes, but a very common one is iron deficiency. In fact, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, the protein carried by red blood cells that delivers oxygen throughout the body for energy. Aside from hemoglobin, iron is a requirement for the production of erythropoietin (EPO), which is a hormone needed by the body that also plays a role in helping to make red blood cells.
To replenish our iron safely and effectively, I recommend heme iron that comes from beef liver concentrate. This specific form of iron is attached to hemoglobin – the protein that transports energizing oxygen to muscle cells. The great thing about heme iron is that up to 33 percent of the quantity of heme iron ingested can be absorbed, compared to as little as two percent absorption of iron salts.
The best liver extract comes from beef cattle raised on the grassy plains of Argentina without any chemical sprays, pesticides, or antibiotics. Look for a “predigested” form of liver extract, meaning it has been broken down to be more readily absorbed by the body.
To aid in the absorption of iron, I think folate and vitamin B12 can be very useful. I would take 5 mg of iron (as iron bisglycinate chelate) with 1,300 mg of liver fractions, plus 340 mcg of folate (as 5-methylfolate) and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin) once or twice daily.
Additionally, 20-30 mg of zinc bisglycinate chelate can also help with iron’s absorption.
Terry . . . Naturally
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