Heme iron and blood donation

Heme iron and blood donation

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Heme iron and blood donation

Since blood donation is voluntary and this is a free service for the fellow man it´s natural to ”guard the sources”.

This means that blood donors should receive iron supplementation to compensate for iron loss from the blood donated, especially if low values are detected.

This has not always been the case because of low efficacy and frequent side-effects from the non-heme ironsupplements given.

Side effects often lead to the donors stopping taking the supplements, which in turn means that they can only

donate blood perhaps once or twice a year instead of normally

three times.

There are factors influencing non-heme iron absorption


Among these are tannins in tea and coffee. Phytates in whole

grain bread, milk proteins, albumin and soy proteins may

also reduce absorption.

This means that a regular diet and non-heme supplements

may not be enough to compensate for iron loss.

Heme iron absorption is not affected by any of these


Non-heme supplements at 100 mg Fe++ per dose regularly have an incidence of side-

effects leading to termination of the therapy of around 30 %.

Donors that have previous negative experiences will

usually not take the supplements at all.

It has been observed that after a donation absorption of non-

heme iron practically ceases for around four days.

Heme iron, however is absorbed normally.

The uptake of non-heme iron is low and

will leave free iron ions in the gut.

These in themselves are highly reactive,

and considered toxic to the organism.

Heme iron is taken up as a whole structure leaving no free iron


Heme iron is very well tolerated and is known to have a side-effects ratio as placebo.

This means a higher therapy success rate.

Heme iron will also not block the uptake of zinc as non-heme iron in doses over 60 mg will.

This is why OptiFer® C, M and F tablets with a dose of 18 mg Fe++ can successfully compete with

non-heme tablets of 100 mg Fe++.