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Vitamins that Enhance the Absorption of Iron

by
author image April Khan
April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.
Vitamins that Enhance the Absorption of Iron
Large bowl of kale with oranges. Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Overview

Iron is an essential mineral for human health, responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. This mineral is part of many enzymes and is used in several cell functions. When you lose too much blood or become pregnant, you may need to increase your iron to keep from having iron-deficiency anemia, which may cause fatigue, weakness, compromised immune function and decreased work or school performance. To replenish your low level of iron, take iron supplements with certain vitamins included to enhance absorption.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant, also known as retinol. The daily recommendation for men is 900 micrograms, or micrograms, a day and for women, 700 micrograms. The Office of Dietary Supplements states that vitamin A is responsible for moving iron from its storage areas within the body. A low level of vitamin A will therefore cause a limitation in iron mobilization.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant required for a healthy immune system. In addition, vitamin C also works to create connective tissue, collagen and neurotransmitters. Vitamin C also enhances iron absorption. Parenting Science recommends eating an extra 63 milligrams of vitamin C per meal to increase the enhancement of the iron. It's important for absorbing heme iron -- the form of iron found in plant foods, which is otherwise not as easily absorbed as the iron from animal-derived foods.

Eating for Iron Absorption

A well-balanced diet helps ensure you'll get the vitamins you need to absorb and utilize iron. A single serving of grapefruit, strawberries, red pepper, kale or orange will provide the 63 milligrams of vitamin C needed for iron absorption. Kale, oranges, red peppers also provide vitamin A, and a range of other orange and dark green produce -- including mangoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, spinach and chard -- can help you get the vitamin A needed for iron metabolism.

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