Iron is an essential microelement that plays a role in many metabolic processes, in particular those associated with transporting oxygen and regulating cell growth and differentiation. In fact, iron is involved in well over 100 metabolic processes. Because the body itself cannot produce it, iron must be obtained from food. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide. The condition develops gradually, starting with a negative iron balance when the dietary intake is insufficient to meet the daily need.
When a deficiency exists, the oxygen supply to cells is reduced, which can lead to lower physical performance accompanied by tiredness and a weakened immune system. Other typical signs are paleness, dry skin, brittle fingernails and a tendency to become overweight. High-risk groups include women in general, children and pregnant women; an estimated 22 percent of women in industrialised countries are affected. Up to 47 percent of all school-age children worldwide also develop some form of anaemia, 25 percent of whom suffer from iron deficiency anaemia, the most severe kind of iron deficiency.
Iron, or more correctly iron salt, can exist in two forms: haem iron and non-haem iron.
The former is derived from haemoglobin and is found in foods of animal origin. The latter is found in plant products and is the form that nearly all dietary supplements or enriched foods contain, but is often less easily absorbed by the body.
There are a multitude of factors influencing the absorption of non-haem iron; for example, many foods and drinks contain components that interfere with iron uptake. Therefore, it is always best to take iron supplements during the time between meals. Some diseases and certain drugs can also inhibit iron absorption. Furthermore, different iron salts are more readily absorbed in different sections of the gastrointestinal tract.
Unlike conventional food supplements, which typically contain only one salt such as iron sulphate, Ferrochron® is a unique product that largely replaces sulphate with other iron salts that are more tolerable and more bioavailable. By using three-layered technology, the different iron salts are released in different sections of the gastrointestinal tract. This maximises the advantages of each different salt while also reducing side effects and greatly increasing bioavailability.
The tablets have the following structure:
An initial, outer layer immediately releases 1/3 of the iron in the upper digestive tract, starting in the stomach. This layer contains iron bisglycinate to guarantee an initial, rapid uptake in the upper digestive tract with maximum tolerability; properties that have been confirmed in various research studies.
An intermediate layer releases iron after a short delay, starting 1 – 2 hours after taking the tablet, while it is being transported through the duodenum. This layer also contains 1 / 3 of the total iron, but in the form of iron sulphate. To increase the bioavailability of this iron salt even further in this part of the intestine, the tablet additionally releases vitamin C at this stage. This combination also helps to reduce any of the side effects that can occur from high doses of iron sulphate to a minimum.
A third, long-delay layer only starts to release its iron 2 – 4 hours after taking the tablet. At this time, it is passing through the small intestine (from jejunum to ileum). This layer contains highly bioavailable, microencapsulated iron pyrophosphate coated with lecithin. This ensures maximum uptake of the remaining 1 / 3 of the iron as it passes through this part of the digestive tract, as has been confirmed in many studies.
This combination of three iron salts reduces the amount of iron sulphate to an absolute minimum, thereby maximising tolerability while at the same time ensuring high bioavailability of the entire iron content.
There are certain groups of people in which iron deficiency is more common, and who would especially benefit from dietary supplements. These include women with heavy menstrual losses, for example. Pregnant and nursing women also tend to be iron-deficient. Around 25 percent of all pregnancies in Europe are even accompanied by an iron deficiency anaemia that requires treatment. The consequences are often premature births or babies of low birth weight. For this reason, supplements are always recommended during pregnancy, since the normal diet cannot cover the iron requirements. Other groups at risk are women undergoing fertility treatments and children and adolescents, whose iron requirements are higher during their growth phase. Men and women who suffer from Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease, dialysis patients, extreme athletes and vegetarians are also known risk groups.
In order to reduce the risk of progressive iron deficiency in healthy people, the recommended daily doses of dietary iron are around 12 mg for men and children, as much as 15 – 18 mg for adult women of childbearing age, at least 27 – 30 mg for pregnant women, and 1 mg / kg for infants between the ages of 4 – 5 months and 2 – 3 years. If these amounts are not obtained every day or if large amounts are excreted each day, an iron deficiency or anaemia will develop sooner or later. In these cases, higher supplemental doses are recommended.
Adults with a confirmed or suspected iron deficiency should take at least 30 – 60 mg of iron per day in addition to their normal diet, or even higher doses in severe cases. This supplementation should continue until the haemoglobin or ferritin levels, both measurable in the blood, have returned to normal. Ideally, by taking chronobiologically designed supplements, the levels should be restored after about 12 – 16 weeks. People with a low-iron diet (e. g. vegans) or with a permanently higher need for iron intake (e. g. women with heavy menstrual losses, extreme athletes or those with a gastrointestinal condition) often require longer periods of supplementation.
10 mg immediately released iron (as bisglycinate within the stomach)
10 mg slightly delay released iron (as sulphate within the duodenum after 1 – 2 hours)
10 mg strongly delay released iron (as pyrophosphate within the jejunum ileum after 2 – 4 hours)
in pharmaceutical grade.
Other ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, dicalcium phosphate
In normal cases, take 1 tablet (elemental iron) per day 120 – 30 minutes before dinner. For acute iron deficiency or pregnancy, the dose can be increased up to 2 tablets per day.
Children aged 6 years or older may take one tablet per day after consultation with their physician. Take the tablets with plenty of fluid (but not with milk, coffee, alcohol or fruit juices).
The ingredients of the tablets are well tolerated and without statistically significant side effects even at sub-chronic doses. While iron uptake is regulated by saturable absorption mechanisms, it is recommended to pause the intake for several weeks as soon as the blood levels have stabilised in order to avoid overdosing. Excessive amounts of iron taken over too long a period can result in liver and heart damage and atherosclerosis. As with all iron preparations, the stool can turn dark black and become somewhat hardened. The latter can be avoided by increasing fluid intake. In all cases, medical advice should be sought before commencing treatment.
Store in a cool, dry place and keep out of reach of children. Persons who are under constant medical care should consult a doctor before use.