Absorbable vegan iron? How!?
Most people are surprised to hear that curry leaves are a source of iron.1 The myth that you must eat red meat to avoid iron deficiency is old news, at least for us it is! Leafy greens, sprouted beans, nuts, tempeh and seeds are all sources of iron. The problem is these foods have natural inhibitors called anti-nutrients that must be broken down in order for your body to obtain nutrients like iron. Assuming you live a busy life, you probably don’t have time to be lightly steaming all of your leafy greens and sprouting beans. Additionally if you’re body is deficient in a vitamin or mineral like iron, your body actually needs therapeutic amounts of it to build up its stores.
Knowing this, it’s basically impossible to get THAT much iron from food that you’re preparing on your own.
Iron from real food vs synthetic iron
Curry leaves contain a non heme form of iron that is bioavailable and can be easily absorbed.2 Unlike synthetically derived iron; when your body is given curry leaves it has all of the additional complex compounds it needs to fully absorb and store the iron. As stated in our Vitamin Shopping Guide; nature actually packages vitamins in groups, not isolates. Food from nature contains supporting compounds to help your body properly absorb and metabolize them efficiently, like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, phytonutrients, and enzymes.
Taking an isolated vitamin and expecting your body to use it properly is like trying to call someone on the phone when you only have half of their phone number.
Our whole food iron powder contains 3 food ingredients, that’s it; organic curry leaves, amla berries and moringa leaves. The amla berries are very high in vitamin C which further support the absorption of iron in both the curry leaves and moringa.3
Pros & cons of non heme iron
Plant-based foods naturally contain more fibre, antioxidants and other healing compounds that everyone could use more of. Additionally non heme sources of iron are less likely to cause chronic illnesses and disease because these problems are heavily linked to consuming meat. Heme iron has been linked to: Increased risk of type 2 diabetes,16 cancer, heart disease and strokes. 17,18,19
Additionally, plant based diets are not only better for us, but also better for animals and the environment. So why doesn’t everyone opt for plant based, non heme iron? The only problem with non-heme iron rich foods is the lower bioavailability when compared to heme sources. Leafy greens and beans contain anti-nutrients that act as inhibitors to iron absorption. We talk more about those pesky compounds in this article.
However, there are ways to destroy the anti-nutrients without compromising the food’s nutrition. Soaking, sprouting, rubbing and steaming are all methods to bypass anti-nutrients in seeds, beans, nuts and leafy greens! Read more about how to break down anti-nutrients in leafy greens here and get more iron and other nutrients from beans, nuts and seeds by soaking or sprouting them.
Additionally some people claim eating meat will boost your iron levels because they argue that heme iron absorbs better than non heme iron. The truth is vegans and vegetarians are not at any greater risk to iron deficiency than meat eaters.4,5 Animal meat is supposedly a source of heme and non heme iron, but the animals get their non heme iron from the foods they eat and digest. So, if they’re eating GMO corn (which is used in fast farming practices to save money)6 there is likely little to no iron being fed to the animal which means no non heme iron for the person eating it. Additionally, one study suggests the most common meats eaten in North America; chicken and beef, are not actually high in heme iron either!7 Cooking meat compromises some of the iron as well as other vitamins and minerals.8 According to one study, the meats that are richest in iron are blood curds and pork liver.7 These are not your typical North American delicacies, which likely explains why meat eater’s are not immune to iron deficiency.
Ferritin and hemoglobin explained
If you’ve had your iron levels tested before, you know that your ferratin and hemoglobin count is measured. Have you ever wondered why these are measured and what they have to do with your body’s iron levels?
Ferritin is a blood cell protein that holds or stores iron. Your ferritin levels are tested to see your actual stores of iron. Iron, unlike water soluble vitamins CAN be stored in the body. This is the case with calcium and vitamin D too! This is a good way to tell if your body has iron stores or is able to store iron.9
Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues and organs. If this count is low, this means your oxygen has a hard time getting to your body. You may feel shortness of breath, dizzy or even faint. You’re likely anemic is your hemoglobin is low.10
By not having enough iron and/or oxygen, your muscles can’t work properly. This could lead to everything from muscle cramping, poor workout recovery and constantly being tired. In severe iron deficiency cases, one’s heart may have to overcompensate by working harder to get oxidized blood to the necessary areas of the body.11
Who needs iron the most?
People who have a monthly moon cycle will naturally need more iron than those who do not. Think about it, you’re losing blood on a regular bases, which means you’ll have to replenish your stores.
Endurance athletes specifically younger women need more iron than those who do not participate in high intensity physical activities.12,13,14 Athletes need more oxygen quickly, do to their intense activities. Additionally those who run regularly suffer from what’s known as ‘foot strike hemolysis’.15 As your feet hit the ground when running, red blood cells are damaged during the impact. Overtime as this action is repeated, your red blood cells diminish. Additionally iron is lost through sweat.
Blood donors will naturally be at a higher risk for iron deficiency. Sadly iron deficiency and anemia can prevent many people from donating blood, which is not good because donating blood save lives.
What people are saying about PureFood Iron
“My ferritin was 13 when I started taking this iron. Traditional iron supplements were too hard on my stomach, so I searched for something my body could tolerate. Insert Pranin. I’ve been taking it for a month now, and my ferritin is at 19 and my hemoglobin has doubled! My doctor told me to keep it up and check back in three months. I am feeling so much better, especially around “that” time of the month, plus the dark circles under my eyes are fading!!” – Angela G.
“As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and as someone who has iron deficiency anemia, I absolutely love this product! It is SO easily digested and absorbed by the body as it is a whole foods based supplement that comes in a powder form! This is the only iron supplement that my body can absorb with no adverse effects! Highly recommend it!!” Jasmine G.
“I have tried countless iron supplements, and this product surpasses them all! I don’t feel nauseated after taking it, or have to deal with issues like constipation. My iron levels are now consistently within normal range. It’s pure food with no junk in it. Thank you, Pranin Organic!!” – Michelle L.
Read these reviews and more, here.
Don’t fall victim to iron deficiency when there’s a whole food powder that works fast and is gentle on your stomach. Try our PureFood Iron for 30 days, feel the difference and see the difference the next time you get your blood test results.
3 Hallberg L., and Rossander L., 1982. Absorption of iron from Western-type lunch and dinner meals. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 35, 502-509.
4 Haddad EH, Berk LS, Kettering JD, Hubbard RW, Peters WR. Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70(suppl):586S-93S.
5 Obeid R, Geisel J, Schorr H, et al. The impact of vegetarianism on some haematological parameters. Eur J Haematol. 2002;69:275-9.
12 Influence of combined iron supplementation and simulated hypoxia on the haematological module of the athlete biological passport. Laura A. Garvican-Lewis et al, Drug Testing and Analysis, 2017
13 Iron Supplementation Benefits Physical Performance in Women of Reproductive Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sant-Rayn Pasricha et al, J Nut 2014, 144(6):906-914
17 Yang, W., Li, B., Dong, X., et al. “Is heme iron intake associated with risk of coronary heart disease? A meta-analysis of prospective studies.” Eur J Nutr. (2014): 395.
18 Iron from Meat and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-analysis and a Review of the Mechanisms Involved.” Cancer Prev Res February. (2011): 177-184.
19 Kaluza J., Wolk A., Larsson S.C. “Heme iron intake and risk of stroke: a prospective study of men. Stroke.” (2013):334-339.Nadia M. Bastide, Fabrice H.F. Pierre and Denis E. Corpet. “Heme