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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Electrolytic Iron Or Ferrous Sulfate Increase Body Iron in Women with Moderate to Low Iron Stores

Authors
item Swain, James
item Johnson, Luann - UNIV OF NORTH DAKOTA
item Penland, James
item Hunt, Janet

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2006
Publication Date: February 1, 2007
Citation: Swain, J.H., Johnson, L., Penland, J.G., Hunt, J.R. 2007. Electrolytic iron or ferrous sulfate increase body iron in women with moderate to low iron stores. Journal of Nutrition. 137:620-627.

Interpretive Summary: To combat iron deficiency, diets are fortified or supplemented with various forms of iron. However, the nutritional efficacy of current, commercially produced elemental iron powders and heme iron supplements has not been verified. To determine the efficacy of these products for improving human iron status, a study was conducted with 51 premenopausal women who consumed either a placebo or supplemental amounts of four forms of iron: as heme iron (5 mg), or electrolytic iron, reduced iron or bakery-grade ferrous sulfate (each 50 mg). The heme iron was given in 2 capsules/d and the other sources in 3 wheat rolls/d provided for 12 wk. Each of the four sources of iron was effective in changing blood measurements of body iron stores, with minimal change associated with the placebo. Reduced and electrolytic iron were approximately 50 and 85% as effective as ferrous sulfate, and 5 mg iron in the heme form was half as effective as 50 mg ferrous sulfate for improving body iron in humans.

Technical Abstract: Background: To combat iron deficiency, diets are fortified or supplemented with various forms of iron. However, the nutritional efficacy of current, commercially produced elemental iron powders and heme iron supplements has not been verified. Objective: Determine the efficacy of electrolytic and reduced iron powder, and heme iron for improving human iron status. Design: In a randomized, blinded, controlled efficacy trial, 51 premonopausal women with moderate to low iron stores received: a) placebo; b) 5 mg iron as heme iron (VitaHeme, USA); or 50 mg iron as c) electrolytic iron (A-131, USA); d) reduced iron (ATOMET 95SP, Canada); or e) bakery-grade ferrous sulfate (FeSO4'H20, USA). The heme iron was given in 2 capsules/d and the other sources in 3 wheat rolls/d, provided for 12 wk. Changes in iron status, nonheme iron absorption from food, fecal iron free radical-generating capacity, and attention and mood were evaluated. Results: Body iron, based on the serum transferring ratio, increased with all four iron sources (mg/kg body wt; LSM±SEM):FeSO4 (2.0±0.5, p<0.004), electrolytic (1.75±0.5, p<0.008), reduced (1.0±0.4, p<0.03), and heme (1.0±0.4, p<0.04), but not with placebo (0.1±0.3, NS), with apparent retention of 2.9, 2.7, 1.7, and 14.3%, respectively. This variable detected treatment differences more sensitively than serum ferritin, transferring receptor, or iron binding capacity. Conclusions: All four iron sources were efficacious. Reduced and electrolytic iron were approximately 50 and 85% as effective as FeSO4 and 5 mg iron in the heme form was half as effective as 50 mg FeSO4 for improving body iron in humans.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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