Frequently Asked Questions

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What is iron?

Iron is a building block in the architecture all around us, as well as a building block of all plant and animal life. 

Dietary iron is readily available through many types of food. However, nutritional deficiencies, increased iron needs and poor absorption of dietary iron mean that some people aren’t able to get adequate iron from their diets alone. For these reasons, iron deficiency is the #1 most common nutritional deficiency in the United States.

Iron is vital for maintaining energy levels and good health in general because it is an important part of your blood’s hemoglobin. Hemoglobin (in your red blood cells) helps supply your body’s cells with oxygen, so when you are low in iron, your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs. The end result is that you may feel tired, sluggish and worn out.

Iron supplements are recommended by doctors when dietary intake of iron cannot restore a person’s iron levels to normal in a satisfactory timeframe. However, the dose of iron your physician prescribes depends on your current storage level of iron, hemoglobin and the type of iron they want you to take. 

Some forms of iron are better absorbed than others and therefore the dose prescribed depends on the type of iron. In addition, your doctor may recommend that you start with a smaller dose of iron and gradually increase the dose to minimize side effects.

What is elemental iron?

If you’ve shopped for iron supplements you may have noticed two different amounts of iron listed on the same package. The higher number is the total amount of iron in the supplement. The second, smaller number is the amount of elemental iron.

Elemental iron is the total amount of iron in the supplement available for absorption by your body. Each type of iron has a different percentage of elemental iron. For instance:

  • Carbonyl has 100% elemental iron.
  • Ferrous fumarate has approximately 33% elemental iron.
  • Ferrous sulfate has 20% elemental iron.
  • Ferrous gluconate has 12% elemental iron.

Therefore, higher total amounts of ferrous gluconate may be prescribed by your doctor to increase iron stores as compared to the amount of ferrous fumarate prescribed.

The amount of elemental iron in a supplement is typically listed in the Supplement Facts panel. In addition, some iron supplements will indicate the total milligrams of elemental iron on the front of the package making it easy for consumers to compare different iron supplements.

Why is iron important?

Just like you need your lungs to breathe in oxygen, you need your blood to deliver that oxygen to all of the cells throughout your body.

Iron is a part of that blood-oxygen delivery system, and without proper levels of iron, you may begin to feel the weakening effects of low iron: tired all of the time, pale, listless and irritable.

Each and every cell in your body needs oxygen to produce energy. Not just for exercise, but for everyday life: brushing your teeth energy, walking up the
stairs energy, going to work energy, baking cookies energy.

When you have normal iron levels, you have enough energy in every one of your body cells. Without enough iron, your cells produce less energy.

How does iron help out? As oxygen moves from your lungs into the blood, iron helps your red blood cells to “grab” the oxygen and to carry it to all parts of your body.

Who needs extra iron?

Few people realize that iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the most common cause of anemia in the U.S. Unfortunately, the side effects associated with most oral iron supplements makes it difficult for some to keep up with supplementation. That’s why Feosol offer three unique options for iron!

A high-potency iron supplement is doctor-recommended for people with iron deficiency, including both men and women, athletes, deficient individuals with low energy levels, pregnant women and seniors.

Specific patients who may need an iron supplement include:

  • Adolescent females and women of child-bearing age (due to blood loss from menstruation)
  • Women trying to conceive
  • Pregnant women
  • Endurance athletes or athletes who train at high intensity
  • Patients with a chronic disease
  • Bariatric patients
  • Older/senior patients 65+

Individuals with dietary restrictions, particularly vegetarians, are vulnerable to iron deficiency, despite the fact that many vegetarians eat a well-rounded diet of iron-rich foods. That’s because the iron found in plant-based foods (called non-heme iron) is not as well absorbed as iron found in animal based foods (heme iron).

Consider Iron Supplements

If you suspect you may not be getting adequate iron from your diet, or you fall into any of the above categories, ask your doctor about an iron test. If he or she determines that you are iron deficient, ask about iron supplements to help get your iron-levels back on track.

How do I know if I have iron deficiency anemia?

There are several symptoms that you can look for to help determine if you have an iron deficiency (lethargy, irritability, low energy, paleness, dizziness), but there’s no way to know for sure without a blood test and a doctor’s assessment and/or examination.

Iron deficiency is the single-most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. If you have any of the symptoms above or if you are concerned about a lack of iron in
your diet, talk to your healthcare provider about iron deficiency anemia testing. Keep in mind that some people are asymptomatic, or experience none of the common symptoms, so the only way to be
sure is a blood test.

If your levels are too low, you may have iron deficiency anemia. Your healthcare provider will want to talk about any medications you are currently taking, your diet and eating habits, and he or she will rule out serious health problems
that could have caused low iron in your blood.

Last you will discuss ways to manage your iron deficiency, including an iron-rich diet and supplementation.

Can I be tested for Iron deficiency anemia?

If you are concerned about iron deficiency anemia, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she
may assess the iron in your blood with two common blood tests:

- A test to measure the hemoglobin in your blood

- A hematocrit to determine the percent of red blood cells in your blood

If your hemoglobin and your hematocrit are low, you may have iron deficiency anemia. Your healthcare provider will rule out serious health problems that could have caused low iron in your blood, and discuss ways you can get rid of your iron deficiency.

Can’t I get iron through food?

Iron is readily available through many types of food. However, nutritional deficiencies, increased iron needs and poor absorption of dietary iron mean that many people aren’t able to get adequate iron from their diets alone. For these reasons, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States.

There are two types of iron found in food, heme and non- hemeHeme iron is derived from hemoglobin and therefore found in animal foods including meat, fish and poultry.

Non-heme iron is found in plants and also added to fortified and enriched foods including cereal, some nutrition bars and bread. Absorption of heme iron ranges from 15-35% whereas non-heme iron absorption is 2-20%.

In addition, heme iron absorption is efficient and not significantly affected by what is eaten concurrently. However, absorption of non-heme iron is influenced by several dietary factors making what is eaten with a food rich in non-heme iron, important. 

Food Combinations

In addition to choosing foods high in iron, you can increase your body’s absorption of non-heme iron if you pair it with the right foods. Both meat protein and vitamin C rich foods increase the body’s absorption of non-heme iron. Try eating iron-fortified cereal with a glass of orange juice or making a salsa or Texas caviar with iron-rich beans and vitamin C-rich tomatoes. You can also top a hamburger with slices of tomato so you better absorb the iron in your iron fortified hamburger bun. Another good suggestion – add vitamin C rich citrus fruit to spinach salad.

Dietary Restrictions Inhibit Iron Absorption

Individuals with dietary restrictions, particularly vegetarians, are vulnerable to iron deficiency, despite the fact that many vegetarians eat a well-rounded diet of iron-rich foods. That’s because the iron found in plant-based foods (non-heme iron) is not as well absorbed as iron found in animal-based foods (heme iron).

Consider Iron Supplements

If you suspect you may not be getting adequate iron from your diet, or you fall into any of the above categories, ask your doctor about an iron test. If he or she determines that you are iron deficient, ask about iron supplements to help get your iron levels back on track.

What is the difference between heme and non-heme iron?

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. The difference between heme and non-heme iron is simple: heme iron is derived from hemoglobin; non-heme irons do not come from an animal source.

Heme Iron

What is it: Food sources that contain hemoglobin also contain heme iron: pork, red meat, fish & poultry.

Foods that contain iron: One serving of chicken livers, clams, or roasted beef tenderloin contains all the iron you need for a day.

Absorption: Heme iron is absorbed better than non-heme iron, and its absorption is not affected by other things you eat. You absorb 15-35% of the heme iron you eat!

Non-Heme Iron

What is it: All non-meat based iron is non-heme iron.

Foods that contain iron: Non-heme iron is found in vegetables, grains, iron-fortified cereal, lentils & beans.

Absorption: Non-heme iron is not absorbed by the body as well as heme iron. Only 2-20% of non-heme iron is absorbed.

Will I need a prescription to buy iron?

No, many iron supplements are available over-the-counter and can be purchased without a prescription.

While some brands require a prescription, Feosol offers three high-potency, over-the-counter forms of iron to give you options that fit your budget and lifestyle:

For your convenience, Feosol can be purchased at drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores nationwide, available in the Vitamin or Supplement section.

Feosol Original FAQs

What is the type of iron in Feosol Original?

The type of iron in Feosol Original iron tablets is a form of iron called ferrous sulfate. Ferrous sulfate is a non-heme iron which means it is not sourced from an animal or protein. Ferrous sulfate is a traditional form of iron that has been recommended by doctors for decades, making it the most widely used source of iron.

Feosol has been a leader in iron supplements for more than 70 years, and Feosol Original has been a leading choice among iron supplements for its ease-of-use and value.

How much elemental iron does Feosol Original contain?

Each tablet of Feosol Original with ferrous sulfate contains 65 mg of elemental iron.

Elemental iron is simply the amount of iron available for absorption by your body. Not all irons are 100% absorbable. For example, ferrous sulfate is an iron salt, and it is 20% elemental iron. That means only 20% of the iron present is available for absorption. Though that may not seem like very much, rest assured each Feosol tablet delivers 360% of the recommended daily value for iron!

Too much math? Don’t worry. Just follow the dosage instructions on the package unless your doctor gives you other instructions.

What are the most common side effects of taking ferrous sulfate iron?

Feosol] Original contains a form of iron called ferrous sulfate which may produce side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps or upset stomach. One more iron side effect is dark or black stool. Do not be alarmed if taking iron causes your stools to turn black; this is a typical side effect due to unabsorbed iron in the intestines.

If you are experiencing any of these effects and they persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In some cases, people may experience local throat pain and heartburn due to possible contact irritation from the iron.

In addition to Feosol Original with ferrous sulfate, Feosol offers a gentler iron option  for which the absorption is naturally regulated by your body Feosol Complete, a dual-iron formula which maximizes iron absorption while minimizing side effects.

I have trouble swallowing pills. Can I crush Feosol Original iron tablets for easier swallowing?

Yes, if you have problems swallowing pills and vitamins, you may crush Feosol tablets for easy swallowing. There is no functional coating on the tablets, therefore it does not enhance or impede absorption of the iron tablet when you crush it.

Is the iron in Feosol Original a heme iron or non-heme iron?

The iron in Feosol Original is ferrous sulfate, a non-heme iron. There are two different forms of dietary iron: heme iron and non-heme iron.

Heme is a natural form of iron derived from animal sources, like the kind of iron you would find in steak, poultry or pork. Non-heme iron can be an iron salt or plant-derived, like the iron in spinach.

Feosol Complete FAQs

What makes Feosol Complete different from other iron supplements?

What makes Feosol Complete with Bifera different from all other iron supplements is its unique, patented dual-iron formula.

Unlike other supplements, Feosol Complete is the only iron supplement that contains both Heme Iron Polypeptide (HIP) and Polysaccharide Iron Complex (PIC).

HIP is a heme-based iron, like the kind you might find in a juicy steak, while PIC is a non-heme iron, like the kind you might find in peas or potatoes. When combined, heme iron and non-heme iron work synergistically to restore the body’s iron stores while minimizing the usual side effects associated with oral iron supplementation.

Because HIP and PIC iron are absorbed by different mechanisms, a supplement like Feosol Complete with Bifera containing both forms of iron allows for maximum absorption.

Feosol Complete is also an excellent choice of iron supplement for those with sensitive systems because it restores iron levels while minimizing common GI side effects, such as constipation, nausea and stomach upset or discomfort.

Is the iron in Feosol Complete a heme iron or non-heme iron?

Feosol Complete with Bifera is a patented iron supplement that contains both heme (protein-based) and non-heme (inorganic or plant-derived) forms of iron in one small, daily iron supplement! You get the best of both worlds in one pill:

  • One iron is heme iron polypeptide (HIP)
  • The other iron is polysaccharide iron complex (PIC)

Good news: with Feosol Complete you can achieve enhanced iron absorption because HIP and PIC iron are absorbed by two different mechanisms in your digestive tract.

Why does Feosol Complete contain two different forms of iron?

Feosol Complete with Bifera combines two different forms of iron because together they deliver the best of both worlds: heme iron plus non-heme iron in one supplement enhances absorption while minimizing GI side effects!

Traditional oral iron supplements that you’ll find on the shelf at the drug store contain only one form of iron, usually a non-heme iron like ferrous sulfate.

The two forms of iron found in Feosol Complete iron caplets – heme and non-heme (also known as HIP and PIC iron) – work together to enhance iron absorption in your body while minimizing common GI side effects, such as nausea and constipation. That means your body gets the iron that it needs, but it’s gentle on the stomach.

Heme iron is the type of iron you would find in meat, poultry and fish, while non-heme iron is the type found in plant based foods like vegetables and grains. Feosol Complete provides two forms of iron for iron deficient individuals who need the energy and nutritional benefits provided by both heme iron and non-heme iron.

One study shows that heme iron offers 25 times greater absorption than a non-heme iron. A separate clinical research study found that heme iron in combination with non-heme iron work synergistically to increase iron absorption up to 40%.

How does Feosol Complete work?

Enhanced iron absorption is possible when two different forms of iron – heme and non-heme – are taken together. These two types of iron may be absorbed through different mechanisms in the small intestine, enabling maximum absorption of iron, thus helping replete iron stores and restore energy in iron deficient people.

How much elemental iron does Feosol Complete contain?

Feosol Complete with Bifera iron supplement contains a total of 28 mg of elemental iron. It contains:

  • 22 mg as PIC (Polysaccharide Iron Complex) and
  • 6 mg as HIP (Heme Iron Polypeptide as Proferrin®)

Proferrin® is a registered trademark of Colorado Biolabs, Cozad, NE.

What is "Bifera"? Is it a type of iron?

Feosol Complete with Bifera was formerly a brand of dietary iron supplements called Bifera.

In 2012, the well-known iron brand Feosol expanded its family of iron products to include Feosol Complete with Bifera.

The popular, gentle formula known as Bifera has not been altered one bit – only the name and package have been improved to help you select the right iron for you. (We know you’ll love it!)

The two forms of iron in Feosol Complete with Bifera are called HIP (or Heme Iron Polypeptide) and PIC (or Polysaccharide Iron Complex). No one else offers this patented, iron-rich combo.

Why should I choose Feosol Complete iron supplement?

If you have a sensitive system, you might find that Feosol Complete with Bifera is a gentle iron alternative that minimizes GI side effects such as constipation and nausea.

Here are the reasons we love Feosol Complete with Bifera:

  • It’s gentle! Feosol Complete offers the potential for greater iron absorption while minimizing the typical GI side effects like nausea and constipation.
  • It’s an innovative patented iron supplement which is available over-the-counter.
  • Unlike other OTC iron supplements that only include non-heme iron, Feosol Complete has a dual action iron formula of heme iron plus non-heme iron. Two is better than one!
  • It’s small and easy-to-swallow.
  • No metallic aftertaste!
  • You can take it with or without food, and you don’t have to combine with vitamin C to enhance absorption.
  • It’s gluten-free.

Is Feosol Complete a gluten-free iron?

Yes, Feosol Complete is a gluten-free iron supplement.

If you are searching for a gluten-free iron supplement, Feosol Complete with Bifera is an appropriate iron alternative for those with a gluten intolerance (also known as Celiac disease).

Many people associate gluten with bread, crackers and beer. They’re on the right track – gluten is a very common protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

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