By: Dr. Olinca Trejo ND, Doctor’s Naturae, Burlington ON
Bio-Ferra is one of my favourite iron supplements for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has a great green apple taste, which significantly increases patient compliance. The liquid form also makes it quite easy to titrate the dose and adjust it for different patient populations (which is especially helpful if multiple family members require iron supplementation with different dose regimens). Bio-Ferra is highly bioavailable and very well tolerated – polysaccharide iron complexes are typically associated with less side effects than their rapid-release iron salt counterparts (ie. ferrous fumerate, ferrous sulphate etc). Finally, I like that Bio-Ferra is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and that it has a very low toxicity potential compared to other iron-salts.
I have found Bio-Ferra very effective at increasing both hemoglobin and ferritin. I find it particularly useful and well-tolerated in pregnancy (especially in women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidum, GERD, constipation and/or haemorrhoids), pre-menopausal women, children, geriatric populations and patients on PPIs, suffering from malabsorption issues (especially post gastric bypass surgery, IBD) or patients who do not tolerate commonly prescribed OTC iron-supplements. In many instances, I have been able to double ferritin levels with virtually no side effects (I have yet to have a patient complain about the taste or any GI side effects!).
A clinical case comes to mind to best demonstrate the effectiveness of Bio-Ferra in my practice. A vegan, pre-menopausal female with iron deficiency anemia (no personal history of IBD, hypochlorhydria, NSAID use or any other medications) presented to my office. She had tried OTC ferrous sulfate, gluconate and bis-glycinate on an empty stomach with 500mg of Vitamin C and a B complex for >3 years without any clinical improvements. After 3 months of treatment with Bio-Ferra (1 Tbsp, po qHS + 1000mg of lysine, po, qHS) her hemoglobin, RBC, hematocrit, MCV and MCHC normalized and her ferritin more than doubled (from 7 ug/L to a 24 ug/L). After 6 months of supplementation, her ferritin levels continued to improve (52ug/L). These results are not uncommon in my experience with Bio-Ferra.
Cyto-Matrix’s Bio-Ferra is a highly absorbable liquid iron supplement containing a polysaccharide iron complex (PIC), a compound that closely resembles the structure of ferritin. PIC is unique in that it is “non-ionic”, meaning that the pH of the stomach does not affect absorption. A PIC does not require vitamin C or other co-factors for optimal absorption and it can be taken with or without food (or supplements), without the risk of binding to minerals such as calcium and hindering absorption.
Here are some interesting and important notes about Bio-Ferra for your patients:
- Bioavailability: PIC is considered to be one of the most bioavailable vegan forms of iron, with an absorption rate somewhere between 10-60% depending on individual iron status.
- Tolerability and Safety: Given the non-ionic nature of a PIC, Bio-Ferra is extremely well-tolerated in the gastrointestinal tract and does not tend to cause digestive upset or constipation at recommended dosing. PIC is also remarkably non-toxic. PIC has a LD50 (“Lethal Dose 50”) of 5,000mg/kg, an extremely high safety profile and low toxicity potential compared to iron salts with a LD50 of only 200-600mg/kg.
- Dosing: Each teaspoon (5ml) of Bio-Ferra provides 20mg of elemental iron, making it one of the most concentrated liquid iron supplements on the market. 1-2 teaspoons per day is the recommended dosage for adults, although greater doses can be used depending on clinical circumstances and digestive tolerability.
- Populations: Bio-Ferra is suitable for vegan and vegetarian populations, and it is guaranteed gluten, soy and dairy-free.
- Flavour: Bio-Ferra is naturally sweetened with xylitol and a green apple flavour to improve patient compliance.
- Bottle Size: Bio-Ferra is provided in a 300ml bottle to offer 60 servings/bottle.
- Special Considerations: There is concern that liquid iron supplements can temporarily stain teeth. For this reason, it is recommended that patients either use a straw to consume the product or simply rinse their mouth with water after use.
- Alternative Options: For patients that are not interested in a liquid iron supplement, consider Iron-Matrix, 20mg of iron bis-glycinate with magnesium, vitamin C, copper and B-vitamins in each vegetable capsule