Iron and Bariatric Surgery: Types and Increasing Absorption

Iron and Bariatric Surgery: Types and Increasing Absorption

Posted by Pharmics on 16th Apr 2021

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on iron supplementation for people who have recently undergone bariatric surgery. This form of surgery, used primarily for weight loss, is quite common, but also may lead to iron deficiency in many people that requires supplementation.

At Pharmics Inc., we’re happy to offer numerous iron supplements and related products for a variety of clients, including those who have recently undergone weight loss surgery and require additional iron beyond what they can receive from other sources. What are the important types of iron to be thinking about when considering supplementation for your iron levels after bariatric surgery, and how can you increase iron absorption during this period?

Iron Types and Options

When considering supplementation, there are a few different iron salt types you might consider. These include each of the following:

  • Ferrous sulfate: A type that contains just 20% elemental iron – elemental iron means the typical dosage on the label will need to be multiplied by this percentage associated with the salt to determine how much iron the body can actually absorb.
  • Ferrous gluconate: Only 12% available as supplemental iron.
  • Ferrous fumarate: The most frequently recommended iron salt, ferrous fumarate has 33% available as elemental iron, plus is easier on the stomach and has higher bioavailability. This is why it’s the most popular supplement for those following bariatric surgery.

Ferretts IPS offers a variety of benefits over other iron supplements:

  • Ferretts IPS liquid supplement – Iron Protein Succinylate (IPS) is safe and efficacious product for those experiencing iron deficiency anemia. Due to its innovative technology, Ferretts IPS is a gentle substance that is insoluble in the stomach—important because most other iron products tend to irritate the stomach lining, often leading to significant discomfort, but not Ferretts IPS.
  • Ferretts IPS products dissolve in the intestine as ferric iron, and the active component is gentle and efficiently absorbed.
  • Ferretts IPS has a superior safety profile, allowing long-lasting treatment, which is most often required for people with a deficiency and anemia intervention.

Another option is the the Ferretts Chewable Iron Supplement. They are a very pleasant tasting (Natural Lemon-Lime Flavored) dietary supplement that utilizes carbonyl iron. Carbonyl iron is a pure form of iron that is naturally regulated by the body, making it very gentle on the system. Ferretts chewable tablets are great for those persons that may have an iron deficiency but have difficulty swallowing pills.

Food Types

In addition to supplementation, absorbing iron through food is also very important. There are two types of iron found in food: Heme and nonheme iron, the former of which is commonly found in hemoglobin in animal proteins like red meat, poultry and fish. The latter is found in plant-based foods, such as lentils, leafy greens and various beans. The body is known to absorb more iron from heme sources.

Some of the best heme iron sources for food include seafood like clams, mussels and oysters, while other good ones feature cooked beef or turkey. The best nonheme iron sources are cooked beans, tofu, sesame or squash seeds, with plenty of other bean, pea or related items also serving as good sources.

Increasing Iron Absorption

When taking iron supplements, it’s important to maximize your absorption to get the most out of them. Here are some general tips to increase absorption:

  • Don’t take calcium at the same time as iron supplements – they should be separated by at least two hours as they compete for the same absorption sites.
  • Don’t consume tannin-rich products like wine, coffee, tea or even chocolate through the day when taking iron supplements.
  • Avoid tea or black coffee specifically for at least an hour before and after taking iron.
  • Check Vitamin A status – there are some cases where normalizing Vitamin A levels will improve iron absorption.
  • Ensure your copper status is in a normal range.

For more on iron supplementation following bariatric surgery, or to learn about any of our ferrous fumarate supplements or any other products we offer, speak to the staff at Pharmics Inc. today.

Check with your physician before taking an iron supplement or giving an iron supplement to an infant or any child.

*WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep iron containing products out of the reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

Statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.