Frequently Asked Questions About Active Iron
You've got questions, we've got answers! On this Active Iron FAQ page we've tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. Simply click on the links below to find the answer to your question. If you've got a question that we haven't answered here, be sure to contact us directly and we will be more than happy to help.
Iron is essential to life. It contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It plays an important role in normal energy metabolism, oxygen transport, cognitive function, immune function and formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin.
You can get iron from food, but depending on the type of iron, it may not be absorbed well, and it may not be sufficient to meet your requirements. There are two types of iron found in the diet, non-haem iron and haem iron. Non-haem iron is found in plants, nuts and legumes. This is absorbed at a much lower rate and extent than heme iron, which is found in animal products such as meat, especially red meat. It’s important to remember that even if you are making a conscious effort to ingest more heme iron, by eating meat, other daily habits like drinking tea and coffee after your meals can reduce iron absorption.
Monthly periods are the most common cause of iron loss worldwide. Research shows that women of childbearing age need 2-3 times more iron than men. Amongst women who experience heavier periods, especially in their 30’s and 40’s, adequate daily iron intake is particularly important and may be difficult to achieve with diet alone.
Although a vegetarian diet will be high in iron-rich foods, this plant-based (non-haem) source of iron is poorly absorbed. This may be coupled with other potential absorption obstacles such as phytates in whole grains and legumes or tannins in tea and coffee, which can bind iron and further reduce absorption.
Iron is used by the body’s muscles to help produce energy. This explains why active exercisers, especially adults who enjoy endurance exercise (e.g. running, rowing, cycling) need iron to maintain and support energy and normal immunity.
The main adverse effect of blood donation is iron loss. Blood donation experts often recommend a course of at least 30mg of daily iron for up to 6 months post-donation. This also helps with red blood cell and haemoglobin production.
During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body increases by about 30-50%. Iron needs are increased because the body uses iron to make extra blood to transport oxygen for the mother and baby during this time.
Dietary iron requirements can increase to as much as 30mg per day of iron during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. This may mean supporting a healthy diet with iron supplements when daily iron needs cannot be met through diet alone.
However, food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle. Also, you should not exceed the recommended daily supplement dose of iron without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
There are two types of iron, heme, and non-haem. Non-haem iron is found in plants, nuts, and legumes. This is absorbed in a much lower rate than heme iron, which is found in animal products such as meat.
Even if you are making a conscious effort to ingest more heme iron, other daily habits like drinking tea or coffee after your meals can reduce iron absorption, leaving you low in iron.
Consuming 17 cups of raw spinach provides the same amount of iron as taking one Active Iron capsule.
Iron-rich foods include:
- Red meat
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Fortified cereals, bread, and pasta.
Iron is used by the body’s muscles to help produce energy. Therefore, active exercisers who enjoy endurance exercise (e.g. running, rowing, cycling) need iron to maintain and support energy.
Iron contributes to oxygen transport in the blood. Therefore, maintaining optimal iron levels may result in increased aerobic capacity and all-round performance.
Iron also contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, cognitive function, normal immune function and the formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin.
In this post, you’re going to learn how iron functions in our bodies and how it helps our bodies be healthier and more efficient.
Before we go into that, here are a couple of things we have to know:
1) Iron is an essential mineral that is abundantly found in red meat, spinach, seafood, dried fruits, and more.
2) There are two types of iron – heme iron and non-heme iron.
3) Your body absorbs heme iron more efficiently.
Now, that you know more about iron, let’s discuss how iron functions in our bodies
Your body needs for the normal function of your immune system, metabolism and oxygen transport. Active Iron is kind on your stomach and strong on absorption, click here to view our store.
How Iron Functions in Our Bodies
Iron has several functions in the human body, all contributing to good health and proper functioning. Iron contributes to:
The normal energy-yielding metabolism (energy production)
Iron is one of the most vital minerals for our cells. Our primary energy source is food, and our cells need iron to convert food into energy. The more iron you have in your body, the more energy you’re going to have. However, an excess of iron can lead to some health problems, so try to stay within the norm.
The reduction of tiredness and fatigue
A recent study showed that women who took iron supplements experience 48% less fatigue than women who didn’t take them. This study explains why iron is so important, especially for athletes and pregnant women who need to have more energy to function better.
Your normal cognitive function
Iron is essential for cognitive function, including memory, problem-solving, concentration, and learning. Your brain will perform at its best if your body has enough iron in its system. In that case, you won’t have to drink coffee every 2-3 hours to improve your concentration.
The normal function of the immune system
There’s a big link between iron and the immune system. Iron is a key mineral that helps with the creation of cells and their growth.. Moreover, iron plays a role in your immune health because it is necessary for immune cells proliferation and maturation, particularly the lymphocytes, associated with your body’s general response to infection.
The normal oxygen transport in the body
One of the most important functions of iron is the transportation of oxygen to the blood. Iron’s main purpose is to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells throughout your body so your cells can produce energy. Also, iron improves oxygen storage through myoglobin. Myoglobin is a protein containing iron which transports and stores oxygen within your muscles.
The normal creation of red blood cells and haemoglobin
Iron is involved in a process called heme synthesis. It forms haemoglobin, which is a protein in your red blood cells. Haemoglobin transports oxygen from your lungs to your body’s tissues to help you maintain basic life functions. Without this process, your body won’t be able to get enough oxygen and you’ll start feeling tired or fatigued.
The process of cell division
Iron is essential for mitosis, a process that’s part of the cell cycle. The division of cells creates more identical cells which have the same number of chromosomes. The process of mitosis has 5 stages – prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. During mitosis, the duplicated chromosomes attach fibers that pull one copy of each chromosome to the opposite sides of the cells.
Function of iron: Conclusion
To summarize, iron is a vital mineral for your body. It helps you:
⋅ Increase energy production.
⋅ Reduce fatigue.
⋅ Improve your cognitive function.
⋅ Keep your immune system strong.
⋅ Transport oxygen in your body.
⋅ Create red blood cells.
⋅ Maintain healthy cell division.
This is why you should try to improve your iron absorption by taking a supplement such as Active Iron. Active Iron was created for easy absorption and convenience, allowing you to take your iron supplement whenever you want without upsetting your stomach, as is often common with other iron supplements
Iron is best taken on an empty stomach to get optimum absorption. It should be taken ideally one hour before a meal or two hours after a meal.
The reason for taking iron on an empty stomach without food is that an acidic stomach aids iron absorption. If you have a sensitive stomach, it may be best to take your iron right after a meal.
Drinks that are high in iron include:
- Spinach juice
- Pumpkin juice
- Beetroot juice
- Prune Juice
- Tomato juice
- Grape juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Apple juice
- Women with periods
Yes, Active Iron is suitable during all trimesters of pregnancy. Iron needs are increased during pregnancy because your body uses iron to make extra blood to transport oxygen for the mother and her baby during this time.
Many iron preparations cause side-effects in the stomach and small intestines (the gastrointestinal tract). Common side-effects are nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and/or constipation.
Many women experience gastrointestinal symptoms during pregnancy, particularly nausea, heartburn, and constipation. Therefore, taking iron supplements may worsen these symptoms.
However, the frequency and severity of gastrointestinal side-effects are much reduced with Active Iron compared with other oral iron preparations. This is because the ground-breaking formulation has been shown to help protect the gastrointestinal tract from the damage iron can cause.
Yes, Active Iron is suitable for vegetarians. Vegetarians may benefit from taking an iron supplement if they cannot meet their iron requirements through diet alone. Although a vegetarian diet will be high in iron-rich foods, these plant-based sources of iron are poorly absorbed. This may be coupled with other potential absorption obstacles such as phytates in whole grains and legumes or tannins in tea and coffee. There is the equivalent of 17 cups of spinach in one capsule of Active Iron – that is a lot of iron to get from your diet alone.
Active Iron isn’t suitable for vegans as it contains whey protein
The aluminium foil protects the Active Iron capsule from light, moisture and air. This ensures that the last capsule is as fresh as the first.
Active Iron contains denatured (deactivated) whey protein. The denaturing process removes the lactose making it suitable for people that are lactose intolerant.
Active Iron is better absorbed and better tolerated than other iron products.
Active Iron targets the body’s ‘iron absorber’ the DMT-1. It is clinically proven to give better iron absorption and to work in tune with your body’s needs. Active Iron’s advanced protein formulation helps protect the stomach from the irritant effects of iron. Unwanted side effects associated with other iron products such as stomach pain, cramping, nausea, constipation, and flatulence are much less frequent and less severe with Active Iron.
Studies carried out in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin have shown that the iron in Active Iron is better absorbed and better tolerated than standard ferrous sulphate iron products on the market.
Iron is absorbed via the divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT-1) which is most active in the upper intestines (duodenum). Active Iron targets the release of iron in the upper duodenum.
In a clinical study, the amount of iron absorbed from Active Iron was double that absorbed from the same dose of conventional ferrous sulphate (112±58% increase in serum iron with Active Iron vs 50±26% with standard ferrous sulphate) (Wang et al. 2017, Acta Haematologica, 138: 223-232). Additionally, this study showed that iron absorption was greatest among those with low iron stores. This is because the DMT-I is more active in those with lower iron stores.
Iron can cause the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can cause oxidative stress, damaging cells in the stomach. Active Iron causes significantly less ROS generation and less damage to the gastrointestinal tract. (Wang et al. 2017, Acta Haematologica, 138: 223-232).
Yes, as Active Iron is a food supplement (and not a medicine) it is suitable to take without consulting a GP. If you are feeling unsure, then can always consult with your doctor first. However, iron supplements do not require a doctor prescription, and Active Iron's dosage adheres to EFSA's recommended daily iron intake.
Do not exceed the stated dose without first consulting with your doctor or pharmacist.
If the baby shows signs of unusual diarrhoea and/or constipation and the mother is taking iron supplementation, this should be discussed with a Doctor or pharmacist.
NOTE: The information above relates to full term and healthy infants. If the infant is preterm, of low birth weight or has other medical problems, then the advice of a doctor should be sought.
Active Iron’s advanced protein formulation is clinically proven to give better absorption of iron sulfate and is gentle enough to take on an empty stomach. This unique formulation is made with natural whey protein, which helps to protect the digestive system from unwanted side effects. Active Iron targets your body’s normal ‘iron absorber’ called the DMT-1, improving iron absorption and working in tune with your body’s needs.
Adults, pregnant women, the elderly and children over 12 years:
One capsule should be taken daily. Do not exceed the daily dose without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. Remember, food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Active Iron is gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach. It can be taken with water or fruit juice. You should avoid taking Active Iron with milk, caffeine or antacids (indigestion remedies).
Some people may need to take regular iron supplements in addition to a healthy diet to maintain normal iron levels. As with all supplements, you should discuss with your health professional before using if you are under medical supervision, taking other medicines or if you suffer from food allergies.
The Active Iron carton is made from sustainably sourced wood and is 100% recyclable.
The Aluminium blister packs are used to ensure Active Iron’s bio-availability. Check with your local recycling centre whether leaflet and aluminium blister are currently acceptable for recycling.
Active Iron contains a small quantity (about 18mg) of vitamin C which acts as a preservative within the formulation.
Vitamin C, if taken in large doses (250-500 mg) can improve the absorption of iron. However, the quantity of vitamin C in Active Iron is not enough to enhance absorption.
Active Iron has been clinically proven to ensure better absorption of iron. There is no need to use an ‘enhancer’ like Vitamin C to boost absorption further. However, there is no issue you wish to take Active Iron with a vitamin C supplement or a glass of orange juice.
All iron preparations can interact with certain types of food and medicines.
Medicines: Iron may reduce the absorption of some antibiotics, thyroid medicines, methyldopa, levodopa, and penicillamine.
The absorption of iron is decreased by antacids (indigestion remedies) and products containing zinc, calcium, and phosphorus. Therefore, Active Iron should not be taken within one hour before or two hours after taking these products. If you are taking any medicines, it is best to check with a pharmacist to see if there are any interactions with iron.
Food: Tea, coffee, milk, eggs, wholegrain cereals, and dietary fibre can all reduce the absorption of iron. Therefore, Active Iron (and any iron supplement) should be taken 30 – 60 mins before food* or in-between meals* (*includes tea, coffee, milk).
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) enhances the absorption of iron and it is often recommended that iron supplements are taken with a glass of orange juice.
Iron saturation or transferrin saturation is measured as a percentage.
It is calculated by dividing the amount of serum iron by total iron-binding capacity (TBIC) - serum iron concentration ÷ total iron-binding capacity.
A low transferrin saturation percentage may indicate low iron or iron-deficiency anemia.
A transferrin saturation percentage may indicate iron overload. Transferrin saturation is also called transferrin saturation index (TSI) or transferrin saturation percentage (TS%).Source: CDC Nutritional Report 2019.
The best time for taking an iron supplement is one hour before a meal, or two hours after ensuring you are taking it on an empty stomach.
Iron supplements are best taken with water or a glass of fruit juice.
If you find this difficult to manage, you should aim to take your iron supplement in the morning on an empty stomach.
If you have a sensitive stomach, you should try to take your iron after a meal.
Iron is stored mainly in the liver as ferritin or hemosiderin. The main regulator of iron storage is ferritin.
Ferritin can release iron if the blood has a low iron concentration and it can help to store surplus iron if the blood and tissues have a high iron concentration. The average male has about 1,000 mg of stored iron in their body while a female on average has about 300mg.
Having the correct amount of iron depends on several factors such as gender, age, and diet.
Men over the age of 18 need 8.7mg of iron a day.
Women aged between 19 to 50 need 14.8mg of iron a day and women aged over 50 need 8.7mg of iron a day.
During pregnancy, the need for iron increases to 27mg a day. Male and female endurance athletes such as triathletes and marathon runners may need more than this amount as your body loses iron through sweat.
Fruits that are high in iron include:
- Dried prunes and currants
- Dried raisins
- Dried pears
- Dried figs
- Dried apples
The ideal time to take an iron supplement is in the morning on an empty stomach. Taking iron late at night is not as effective, as digestion slows down during sleep with absorption not as effective.