How To Increase The Absorption of your Iron Supplement
Meghan MacKinnon ND | York Region Naturopathic Doctor
Iron deficiency is, by far, the most commonly tested nutritional deficiency by medical doctors and naturopathic doctors alike. Indications that you may have low iron are fatigue, low energy, shortness of breath and dizziness among many other things. Iron is important because it helps our blood to carry oxygen, meaning that when it is low our ability to supply oxygen to our tissues is decreased. Here are some tips about iron absorption and how to increase your stores.
- Oxalates and tannins found in tea and some fruits and veggies actually prevent iron absorption, so try having your supplement away from food if it doesn’t bother your stomach.
- Calcium prevents iron absorption, so better to keep the milk and cheese away from your supplement.
- Vitamin C helps iron absorption, so take your vitamin C supplement with your iron or wash it down with a small glass of orange juice.
- Our natural stomach acid peaks in the evening and into the early night, so try taking your supplement before bed instead of first thing in the morning.
It is possible to get too much iron and it is always important to work with a health care professional to determine if you need to supplement and to find the best form of iron that does not cause digestive upset or constipation. One of my favourites to recommend is the glycinate form. As a naturopath, it’s also important to always attempt to identify why you have low iron. Are your menstrual periods heavy and irregular? Are you not getting enough sources of iron in your diet or are you not absorbing it properly because of a compromised digestive system? Supplementing will help you to feel better by providing this essential building block, but true health comes from investigating why you are in this situation in the first place.
For questions about your current supplement plan please call Armata Health Centre at 905-773-7988.