Vitamins and minerals

Iron supplementation

Ferrous salts are commonly used for iron supplementation. But also ferric salts and iron amino acid chelates are available. They have different adverse effects and impact on food, if they are used for fortification (Nagpal & Choudhury, 2004, Camaschella, 2019).

Iron supplementation overview


If iron supplementation is required, several raw materials are available that can efficiently replenish iron stores, but may also cause adverse effects in the gastrointestinal tract. The most commonly used iron sources are ferrous sulphate, ferrous gluconate and ferrous fumarate (Anderson & Frazer, 2017), which are compared in table 575-0.4-01, whereas table 575-0.4-02 displays the recommended daily iron intake.

Iron sources used for food supplementation


The most commonly used iron source are ferrous salts, as they are present in their reduced, ferric form (Fe2+) and can be absorbed directly by the human body (). These include ferrous sulphate, fumarate, gluconate, succinate and lactate. They all offer rather inexpensive management for iron deficiency or anaemia (), but differ in their bioavailibilty (Nagpal & Choudhury, 2004, Camaschella, 2019).

Ferrous sulphate, which is one of the standard management options, contains 20% elemental iron. It is mostly used in form of tablets as it easily oxidates in humid environments and therefore is not suitable for liquid application. Most ferrous salts have a uniformly good bioavailability, but are strongly influenced by dietary inhibitors. Therefore, their use as food fortificants is limited. Adverse effects such as gastrointestinal problems, discoloration of teeth by liquid products and toxicity through over dosage are also common (Nagpal & Choudhury, 2004, Camaschella, 2019).

Ferric salts are rarely used as food supplements as they have to be reduced to Fe2+ by the body prior to absorption (). Their bioavailability is usually lower than that of ferrous sulphate, but simultaneously the risk of toxification is reduced (Nagpal & Choudhury, 2004).

Iron amino acid chelates


Another iron source are iron amino acid chelates, of which ferrous bisglycinate () is the most commonly used. It contains 20% elemental iron and, like most of the iron amino acid chelates, has little impact on the taste or appearance of food if it is used for fortification. Ferrous bisglycinate is resistant to dietary inhibitors and is therefore a good food fortificant for many matrices. The bioavailability of ferrous bisglycinate is reported to be about four times higher than that of ferrous sulphate and its efficacy is also maintained in premature infants. But iron amino acid chelates are more expensive than ferrous salts. The chelates exhibit low oxidant properties and are environmentally stable, hence they are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Therefore, iron amino acid chelates offer several advantages over ferrous salts (Nagpal & Choudhury, 2004, Allen, 2002, Bovell-Benjamin et al., 2000, Bagna et al., 2018).

Keywords


Iron sulphate, iron bisglycinate

 

Bibliography


  • References


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