Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) improves Iron absorption

Patient

Q: What is the purpose of taking vitamin c along with Iron supplement.My doctor has me taking iron tablet everyday and said I need to take a vitamin c along with it.. but why? what are the benefits.?

Doctor

A:   Iron is absorbed best from the small bowel (duodenum and proximal jejunum). Iron is best absorbed as the ferrous (Fe2) saltin a mildly acidic medium. As a result, we usually recommend taking Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) at the same time of iron administration to enhance the degree of iron absorption. It is also important to note that iron salts should not be given with food because certain substances in the food bind to iron and impair its absorption. A number of factors can inhibit the absorption of iron salts, including the use of antacids, certain antibiotics (eg, quinolones, tetracycline), and the ingestion of iron along with cereals, dietary fiber, tea, coffee, eggs, or milk; therefore it may be sensible to avoid these foods at the same time as supplementation.

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