Events that trigger iron deficiency include growth spurts during childhood, pregnancy and a diet poor in animal proteins. Additionally, certain medications result in anemia, as does external or internal blood loss or infection. Inherited disorders that affect the production and function of red blood cells or hemoglobin (a pigment that gives oxygen to tissues and carries away carbon dioxide) also play a role. Many gastrointestinal surgical procedures, as well as chronic diarrhea, can trigger the condition. The elderly, adults who take aspirin on a daily basis (which can cause bleeding in the GI tract), and volunteer blood donors also are at risk. Often, iron-providing dietary supplements irritate the stomach.
Several tests detect iron deficiency, the most common being hemoglobin, red cell count, and hematocrit and erythrocyte morphology. However, a more specific marker, such as serum ferritin, is strictly linked to iron body storage and condition, giving caregivers a better measure as to actual blood iron levels.
Chemi Nutraceuticals, White Bear Lake, Minn., has introduced iron protein succinylate, an iron compound specially bonded to casein. Due to the succinylation process, the compound has a solubility profile strictly dependent on pH. The IPS is sold under the brand name IronAid™, which precipitates in acid conditions and is soluble at both neutral and alkaline pH. IronAid dissolves in the intestine as ferric iron, and the active iron compound is rapidly absorbed, without irritating the stomach lining.
The product is safe for long-term use, which is compatible with lengthy treatments to treat iron-deficiency anemia.