Jun 01 2014

The Truth About Iron Supplements

Published by at 8:05 am under General

Iron supplements? Good for you…  Or are they?

 

According to UNESCO’s World Health Organization statistics, hundreds of millions of people suffer from iron deficiency around the world. But why is iron so important to our health? And what is the best way to get it so that it is of greatest benefit to our bodies?

 

Iron is comprised of unique properties that enable it to both initiate and facilitate certain critical chemical reactions. Did you know that one of iron’s most important functions for human beings is assisting us to breathe? “… Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia…”3

 

According to Dr. Peter Rothchild’s article on “The Biology of Lactoferrin,” more than half of those suffering from iron deficiencies are doing so due to metabolic problems that hinder or inhibit the assimilation of iron from ingested food or because of low bio-accessibility of the ingested iron.1

 

What has been discovered, is that in order for the body to properly use iron, it must be bioaccessible and there must be substantial amounts of Lactoferrin in the body to sequester and deliver iron for its useful benefits. Lactoferrin is the mechanism used to sequester iron and deliver it to the proper receptors in our bodies. “…Lactoferrin’s primary role is to sequester free iron, and in doing so remove essential substrates required for bacterial growth…”2

 

“Iron that is used today to complement foods has a very low bio-accessibility rate. Only a very small portion – about 7% — is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and an even lesser percentage is actually assimilated by the organs that require it. In a useless effort to compensate for this shortcoming, persistently excessive amounts of iron are added to food in general. The iron that remains unassimilated supports infectious bacterial and viral growth in the entire organism…”1

 

In a healthy body, iron is bound by protein carrier molecules, such as ferritin, which prevents undesired negative actions in the body while at the same time allows the useful properties of iron to remain biologically available. If left unchecked, this friendly ally can become our enemy and pervasively stimulate infectious agents, such as, unfriendly bacteria, viruses and yeast – that heavily depend on iron for their existence.

 

So in order for iron to be properly used in the body, substantial amounts of Lactoferrin must be present. “Iron carried by Lactoferrin is extremely bioaccessible – greater than 95% — yet it will not deliver it to noxious microorganisms. Lactoferrin is identified by specific receptors and delivers iron to the epithelial cells of the small intestine. Iron is released only at the point of recognition and does, therefore, not become available to any other microorganism that may abound in the intestinal tract…”1

 

Once iron is sequestered by Lactoferrin, it can no longer be used by bacteria, viruses or yeast, or other parasites which need iron to thrive. These microorganisms compete with Lactoferrin for iron by releasing minute molecular weight compounds called siderophores. But, these are not able to capture iron when Lactoferrin is present.

 

Lactoferrin, such as that found in BODY BIOTICS™ SBO Probiotics Consortia™, can be a first line of defense against invading pathogens. Unlike typical inorganic iron enriched foods or iron supplements which are generally absorbed at a rate of 5-10%, Lactoferrin rich BODY BIOTICS™ SBO Probiotics Consortia™ are far superior bio accessible forms of organic iron that provide an absorption rate of 95%. More importantly, this form of organic iron remains exclusively available to the cells for proper use in the body and cannot be absorbed by harmful invading pathogens.

 

This is just a small portion of how the body uses iron to support metabolic functions. It is helpful to know how it works and exciting to share yet another benefit of BODY BIOTICS SBO Probiotics/Prebiotics Consortia that goes beyond just digestive health.

 

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

Resources:

1.    The Biology of Lactoferrin, Dr. Peter R. Rothschild, M.D., PH.D., State Academy of Medicine, Tamaulipas, Mexico/1985

 

2.    Farnaud S, Evans RW (2003). “Lactoferrin—a multifunctional protein with antimicrobial properties”. Mol. Immunol. 40 (7): 395–405.

 

3.   http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/iron-supplements

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