The most recent USDA dietary surveys report that about half of women in childbearing years have iron intakes below the mean requirements and some 95% have intakes below the RDA.1 In another study, the majority of the women surveyed did not achieve 70% of the RDA for iron, putting them at strong risk for deficiency.2
These numbers beg the question of why iron supplementation and fortification have had negative publicity in some circles. According to Albion Laboratories (Clearfield, Utah) it started with a Finnish study that found a 2.2-fold increase in heart attack incidence among men with high serum iron (ferritin) levels (over 200mcg/L).3 However, since this study was published, major clinical studies have found no correlation between high iron status and coronary heart disease. Other than the initial Finnish report, there is little evidence that iron supplementation plays a role in cardiovascular disease” except in people genetically predisposed to iron overload.
Albion Laboratories makes an iron that is safe, bioavailable and a true chelate, Ferrochel®. Chelated minerals are minerals such as zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron or calcium that are bonded to amino acids. In the body's natural digestion process, amino acids chelate with minerals and help transport them across the intestinal wall, making the mineral bioavailable.
Since Ferrochel is composed of iron and the amino acid glycine, Albion refers to it as a "nutritionally functional"? mineral chelate. Iron's role in hemoglobin formation is well known; glycine's importance in the process is less familiar. Glycine and succinyl CoA are the starting materials for hemoglobin. Albion Laboratories contends that "the other half" of the Ferrochel chelate ”glycine” is just as important in creating a nutritionally functional product.
Iron also is crucial to international public health, as some 66-80% of the world's population is estimated to be iron deficient; it is the most common mineral deficiency worldwide.5 Ferrochel has been studied in international food fortification programs, resulting in the adoption of fortification mandates in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as other areas of the world. Costing about $0.003 per liter, Ferrochel was given in initial field tests to anemic school children daily, and was found to return hemoglobin levels to normal within seven months.
Since Ferrochel improves hemoglobin status at lower dosages than other iron forms due to its high bioavailability, this translates to higher tolerance with fewer side effects or interactions with other nutrients. Ferrochel has GRAS status and can be supplied as kosher-pareve and is CAS- and FCC-listed.
1 CSFII Report No. 85-5, Hyattsville, Md., U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1988.
2 Raper NR, et al., 1984. Estimates of Available Iron in Diets of Individuals One Year and Older in the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey. J Am Diet Assoc., 84: 783-787
3 Salonen JU, et al., 1992. High Stored Iron Levels Associated with Excess Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Western Finnish Men. Circulation 86:803-811
4 Sempos CT, et al., 1994. Body Iron Stores and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. N Engl J Med 330:1119-1124
5 WHO Report on Battling Iron Deficiency Anemia: www.who.int/nut/ida.htm
Defining Amino Acid Chelates
In July 1996, the National Nutritional Food Association's (NNFA) Board of Directors adapted a definition of an amino acid chelate. To date, only Albion chelates fit this definition and thus are the only true chelates on the market, asserts the supplier.
"Metal Amino Acid Chelate is the product resulting from the reaction of a metal ion from a soluble metal salt with amino acids with a mole ratio of one mole of metal to one to three (preferably two) moles of amino acids to form coordinate covalent bonds. The average molecular weight of the hydrolyzed amino acids must be about 150 AMU (Atomic Mass Units), and the resulting chelate must not exceed 800 AMU. The minimum elemental metal content must be declared. It will be declared as a METAL amino acid chelate: e.g., Copper amino acid chelate."