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Low iron

Do you have low iron levels?  Iron levels won’t remain replete despite supplementation or even infusions? Lactoferrin may help.

Article written by Laura Dwyer, BHSc (Naturopathy) published in ATMS Journal Vol 28 No 3

Anaemia – Iron Deficiency (ID) or Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) – is a global public health concern, predominantly afflicting adolescent girls, women of reproductive age, pregnant women, and children.


Oral iron supplementation such as Ferrous sulphate, Ferrous fumarate or Iron polymaltose are frequently prescribed to replete body iron stores.  However, the high doses required cause numerous undesirable side-effects including gastrointestinal upset, increased oxidative stress, subclinical inflammation and gut microbiome alterations. 

Lactoferrin, which is an iron-binding protein, aids in regulating free iron levels in the body and has been observed to possess antimicrobial, antiviral, immunomodulating and antioxidant activity.  Research indicates that lactoferrin is an essential regulator of iron homeostasis as it increases iron absorption, reduces inflammation and sequesters iron during infection.

Iron levels are influenced by inflammation and infection.  Lactoferrin is able to modulate inflammatory markers, especially in pregnant women, thus restoring iron homeostasis.

Chronic infection in the gastrointestinal tract by pathogens including Helicobacter pylori and parasites can significantly contribute to iron deficiency.  Lactoferrin’s action in carrying iron across the intestinal walls can assist in making it more available for the body’s own iron pool.

Always consult a qualified health practitioner to assess your iron levels and needs – never self-prescribe and only take quality supplements as recommended by your Naturopath.