FREE 2-3 DAY SHIPPING OVER $49 IN U.S.

What is the Difference Between Heme and Non-Heme Iron?

2 min read

girl holding orange slices in front of eye as mom laughs

According to the World Health Organization, about 30 percent of the world's population is anemic. Anemia can affect the productivity of individuals, and yet effective remedies are available.

Although anemia is a symptom of many diseases, there are many instances where the cause cannot be determined. Iron-deficiency anemia, one of the most common types, can be related to diet and poor intake of iron-rich foods. Iron is important to the body for many reasons, as it is required as a component in hundreds of enzymes and functions in the human body. Oxygen is required for proper function and healing. Iron is also involved in energy metabolism in the human body.

 

The most common symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia are fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, cold hands and feet, irritability, elevated heart rate and brittle nails.

 

Iron-deficiency anemia can be improved with an iron-enriched diet, including animal and plant sources. Heme iron is most readily absorbed and is available in beef, chicken, eggs, fish and certain organ meats. Iron absorbed from non-animal sources is called “non-heme” iron. Non-heme iron is less readily absorbed by two to three times that of heme iron. In fact, consuming heme iron increases the absorption of non-heme iron. Therefore, you need several sources of dietary iron to make functioning red blood cells.

Other nutrients can affect non-heme iron and its absorption. Vitamin C has been shown to increase the absorption on non-heme iron, while coffee, tea and some legumes decrease the absorption.

Iron deficiency also contributes to poor brain and physical development, extreme fatigue and other problems. Iron deficiency anemia can be mild and can go undiagnosed until the symptoms intensify.

The most common symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia are fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, cold hands and feet, irritability, elevated heart rate and brittle nails.

Ensure that you eat a balanced diet including both heme and non-heme iron. Consult with your healthcare professional for additional natural foods, supplements and fortified foods that are right for you.

Prohemia contains several sources of iron and iron transport factors that increase iron absorption from the diet.

Learn more about how Prohemia.