If Not Ferro-grad C or Maltofer, Then What?

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. 

  1. Look at your dietary intake – nothing beats liver pâté for an all round superfood.
  2. If you don’t think you can tolerate organ meats, there are incredible whole food options like beef liver capsules and @foragedforyou_.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 

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