What Supplements Can Interfere With Iron Absorption?

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by gapsych, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    What Supplements Can Interfere With Iron Absorption?

    Iron is essential for multiple bodily functions, most notably oxygen transport and energy production. In order to prevent anemia, learning disabilities, impaired immune function, and fatigue associated with iron deficiency, it is crucial to ensure adequate iron absorption from foods and supplements. A number of over-the-counter mineral and herbal supplements can inhibit iron absorption and should be avoided or used cautiously. As always, consult a physician prior to using any new supplement.

    Certain essential minerals compete for uptake with iron in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby decreasing iron absorption. Calcium supplements are commonly taken to replace calcium from dairy and strengthen bones, but can prevent iron absorption when taken at the same time. The National Institutes of Health recommends taking calcium supplements at bedtime in order to avoid this interaction. Zinc is another mineral frequently supplemented, particularly by the elderly and those wishing to reduce the risk of common cold, according to the independent supplement testing company Consumer Lab. The elderly should be aware that zinc is present in most eye health supplements purported to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Any zinc-containing supplement should be taken at a different time of day from iron. Copper is sometimes taken in conjunction with zinc, but can interfere with iron uptake as well. Manganese, typically taken for osteoporosis prevention, presents the same problem. Multi-vitamin preparations frequently contain all four of the previously mentioned minerals and should be taken separately from iron.

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    Phytic Acid in Supplements
    Phytic acid is substance found in many high-fiber foods, including soy, legumes and vegetables. Phytic acid is known to bind iron and prevent absorption of iron from plant sources. Soy protein contains phytic acid, as well as calcium, and has been shown to inhibit iron absorption, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, fermented soy products, such as tempeh, appear interfere less with iron uptake than tofu, soy milk, and soybeans (edamame).

    Tannins in Herbal Supplements
    Tannins are bitter components belonging to the group of chemical compounds called polyphenols that are present in coffee, tea, wine and some spices. Tannins are also found in many herbs and may interfere with iron absorption. Chamomile, feverfew and St. John's wort contain tannins. Chamomile is usually taken for its sedative effects, according to Consumer Lab. Feverfew is purported to prevent migraines, and St. John's wort is commonly taken for depression and anxiety. According to Lucinda G. Miller, PharmD in the Archives of Internal Medicine, saw palmetto, plantain, black cohosh, valerian, nettle and gossypol also contain tannins and should be taken with caution. However, taking a good source of vitamin C such as orange juice or broccoli at the same time may decrease the interaction between tannin complexes and iron according to the National Institutes of Health. Prior to taking any herbal supplement, you should consult a physician.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/195033-what-supplements-can-interfere-with-iron-absorption/#ixzz1CrAxXHch
  2. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Thanks so much, this is very helpful and useful information that I will use.