Iron is an important mineral for human health as it is a component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Iron also plays a role in immune function, body temperature regulation, and energy production. Without enough iron, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin, resulting in iron deficiency anemia, which causes fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.
A balanced diet that includes both heme and non-heme iron sources is important for maintaining optimal iron levels and overall health.
But what are these two types of iron?
They’re basically the same, but these forms of iron have one major difference…
Heme iron versus non-heme iron
Not many people realize this, but there are technically two different types of iron – heme iron and non-heme iron.
heme iron Heme iron is a type of iron found in animal products such as meat, poultry, and fish. It is easily absorbed by the body and is considered a more bioavailable form of iron than non-heme iron. Heme iron makes up about 40% of the iron in animal tissues and is a major component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body.
Non-heme iron Non-heme iron is the type of iron found in plant foods, such as legumes, tofu, spinach, and fortified cereals. It is less easily absorbed by the body compared to heme iron. Non-heme iron makes up about 60% of the iron in a typical diet and is found in both animal and plant tissues. Although it is a less bioavailable form of iron, it is still an important source of iron in a balanced diet.
Basically, the difference between these two lies in how easily they are available for the body to absorb. But no matter which one you take in the most, it’s important to make sure your body actually absorbs it.
Prevalence and risk of iron deficiency
Iron deficiency anemia affects 25% of the world’s population and is the most common cause of anemia.
Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, dizziness, headache, cold sensitivity, and shortness of breath during physical activity. It can also affect mental function, including attention span, and has been linked to childhood learning difficulties. Some people may also experience restless legs syndrome, poor appetite, and a sore or swollen tongue.
The population most at risk of iron deficiency are children, adolescents, and women of childbearing age, especially during pregnancy, as their iron needs are higher.
Some studies suggest that vegans are more prone to iron deficiency, while others show no difference with a carnivore diet after adjusting for inflammation. To compensate for the lower non-heme iron absorption, vegans are advised to increase their iron intake by 1.8 times the recommended amount.
If you suffer from any of these, it may be time to look into iron supplements or ways you can increase your iron intake through foods.
Vitamin C can help…
How does vitamin C affect iron absorption?
Vitamin C can enhance iron absorption by converting non-heme iron into heme iron, allowing for an increased rate of iron absorption into the body.
This is why foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, are often recommended to be eaten with iron-rich foods.
In fact, 2017 research found that increasing vitamin C intake is a practical way to ensure optimal iron levels. 
This is because – no matter what type of iron you take in – vitamin C can allow it to be more soluble and to be absorbed by the body.
Beta-carotene is another thing that can help your body absorb iron.
This is a red-orange pigment that is responsible for the colors of carrots, peppers, berries, and other fruits and vegetables.
It is often converted to vitamin A within the body. But it can also help regulate iron levels by releasing any iron the body may be storing, allowing it to be put to good use.
Beta-carotene is present in our region Micellar Liposomal Vitamin C Equation.
We use it for natural coloring, but it also benefits your health. This means that you are getting two great compounds that can enhance iron absorption.
If you think your iron levels are low, Micelle Liposomal Vitamin C from Purity Health can help your body properly pull out the iron you consume through diet or supplementation.
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