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Taking vitamin C with Iron: A Dangerous Concoction?

Written by Daniel Roytas, MHSc (Nutrition), BHSc (Naturopathy), Dip. RM, MANTA

Taking vitamin C with iron is commonly recommended by clinicians to enhance the bioavailability and metabolism of iron. Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate a number of physiological mechanisms involved in the intestinal absorption, cellular uptake and metabolism of iron including;

  1. Up-regulation of the intestinal iron transporter (ferroportin)1.
  2. Maintaining iron in its ferrous state (Fe2+), which is required for incorporation in to haeme2.
  3. Acting as an enzyme co-factor to facilitate the interaction between transferrin and iron3.
  4. Stimulating hepatic ferritin synthesis3.
  5. Stimulating the release of iron from ferritin stores within reticuloendothelial cells, making iron available for haemoglobin synthesis3.
  6. Protecting iron against oxidation and subsequent sequestration within hepatocytes and macrophages4, via the up-regulation of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase5.
  7. Reducing iron loss...
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