Iron’s fun-C schmancy deal

Is the best-delivered vitamin C also the best iron supplement companion? Hell, NO! I’ll keep it very short and to the point, here is why:

  • On one hand, the vitamin C supplements marketed as providing the best vitamin C delivery – meaning that they put in our blood most of what they carry – are designed for either mucosal or liposomal delivery. By concept and design, such supplement formulation prevents the actual naked vitamin C from spending much time (if any) in the stomach or intestine. That’s the main point of the concept! To make this rhyme: it does better in my blood than degraded in my gut
  • On the other hand, any oral iron supplement requires vitamin C’s presence in the stomach and the gut with the exact and precise mission to counteract the action of phytate, oxalate, tannins, and others. This means that the vitamin C is needed there to prevent these compounds from binding the iron and eliminating it in the poop

The story is kind of simple: if the vitamin C doesn’t make it where is needed (i.e. stomach/gut) to protect the iron, then the plan to improve the iron absorption won’t work! Thus – you see? – “the best” is as circumstantial in drug treatment as is in any other science. Vitamin C lollipops, vitamin C melts, and liposomal vitamin C are terrible options for enhancing iron absorption, although they all rank among best vitamin C formulations for enhanced vitamin C delivery. Don’t expect them to improve your iron stores, however – they absolutely won’t! For that purpose what works is in fact “the least” special of them all: that vitamin C that we know will be minimally absorbed regardless of how high the dose is, the one that will make the tongue sore if held in the mouth for too long. It’s THAT and only that vitamin C that will maximize the iron absorption!

For today, that’s all folks! When you read my recommendation for any vitamin C product listed in Dr. Alice’s Shop, check out carefully whether or not that specific formulation is good to enhance the vitamin C absorption OR the iron absorption. With what we know and produce today, you can only choose one or the other – at least for now. As always, call me if you have any questions, share what you learned, and stay healthy!

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Dr. Alice

I teach people how drugs work, when they are needed, and why. My expertise as a pharmacist and researcher allows me to determine whether taking or not taking a drug will pose any risk given all current circumstances that apply at this moment. Many times we don't know unless we try, but other many times walking the extra mile pays off giving in return more wonderful moments and more to give to others.

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