Frequently Asked Questions
Why is iron important?
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.
Can I get enough iron from my diet?
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-heme iron and heme iron. Non-heme 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.
Who is active iron suitable for?
Who is most likely to need iron supplements?
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, these plant-based (non-heme) 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, 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.
How does pregnancy impact iron levels?
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 mother and baby during this time.
Dietary iron requirements can increase to as much as 30mg/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.
Is Active Iron suitable during pregnancy?
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.
Why is iron important for active exercisers?
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.
Is Active Iron suitable for vegetarians?
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.
Is Active Iron suitable for vegans?
Active Iron isn’t suitable for vegans as it contains whey protein.
What is the function of iron in our bodies?
Iron has several functions in the human body. Iron contributes to:
- Normal energy-yielding metabolism (energy production)
- Reduction of tiredness and fatigue
- Normal cognitive function
- Normal function of the immune system
- Normal oxygen transport in the body
- Normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin
- The process of cell division
Why is Active Iron packed in aluminium foil?
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.
How is Active Iron lactose free if it contains whey protein?
Active Iron contains denatured (deactivated) whey protein. The denaturing process removes the lactose making it suitable for people that are lactose intolerant.
Why is Active Iron better than other iron products on the market?
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 shown 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.
Can I get iron from my food?
There are two types of iron, heme and non-heme. Non-heme iron is found in plants, nuts and legumes. This is absorbed at 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.
Food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and healthy lifestyle.
What are iron rich foods?
Iron rich foods include:
- Red meat
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Fortified cereals, breads and pastas.
Active Iron contains 14mg of iron. Should I take a higher dose product?
Active Iron contains 14mg which is equivalent to 100% of the Nutrient Reference Value, which is the recommended daily intake of iron. Research shows that Active Iron is x 2 times better absorbed than standard ferrous sulphate iron.
Iron that is not absorbed releases reactive oxygen species in the tissues of the gut. This causes irritation, leading to nausea, burping, cramping, constipation and diarrhoea. This is why we recommend our low dose but highly absorbed iron capsule over traditional iron.
What evidence or research supports your claims about 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 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).
Is it suitable to take two capsules of active iron a day?
Do not exceed the stated dose without first consulting with your doctor or pharmacist.
Can Active Iron be taken while breastfeeding?
Yes, Active Iron Pregnancy is safe to take in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Iron supplementation poses no risk to the baby as very little iron passes into the breast milk.
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.
Why is Active Iron different?
Active Iron’s advanced protein formulation is clinically shown 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.
How do I take Active Iron?
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.
Can I recycle Active Iron’s packaging?
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.
How much Vitamin C is in one capsule?
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 shown 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.
Does Active Iron interact with any medicines or food?
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.