We’ve been discussing low iron and the problems with Maltofer and Ferro-grad C. Here are my top recommendations for how to improve your iron levels all while avoiding these two commonly recommended, and problematic, supplements.
- Look at your dietary intake – nothing beats liver pâté for an all round superfood.
- If you don’t think you can tolerate organ meats, there are incredible whole food options like beef liver capsules and @foragedforyou_.
- Address the root cause: your heavy period and/or impaired gut health are a big part of the long term solution. More on this to come.
- In pregnancy, have your iron studies and haemoglobin interpreted correctly and tested at least every 8 weeks. It’s almost always unnecessary to reach the point where an infusion is the only option. I’ve shared more on the issue with reference ranges here.
- If you do take an iron supplement, whether during pregnancy or while you address the root cause, please:
- Use an alternate day dosage regimen, which has been shown to increase absorption by 34%;
- Take your supplement with breakfast or before bed. Absorption will be impaired during the middle of the day due to the natural rise in hepcidin at this time;
- Take your supplement with vitamin C for increased bioavailability;
- Avoid caffeine and calcium within the hour as they are iron inhibitors;
- Avoid zinc within two hours as they interact competitively during intestinal absorption.
- Consider your co-factors. I’m a big fan of lactoferrin – an iron binding protein that transports iron to the natural site of absorption in the small intestine, reducing the gut irritation typically associated with supplementation;
- Consider adding specific probiotic strains. I’ll share more on this next.
Please keep sharing your experiences and questions – as you may have already noticed, you are definitely not alone. Low iron is extremely common and it is possible to correct without Ferro-Grad-C or Maltofer. Please reach out for personalised support.