There are many iron-containing medications and supplements in the market; however, the side effects caused by the iron limits those who can use it. This issue has caused scientists and researchers to search for a solution that could help improve iron deficiency while being iron-free. IronCatch is the solution founded on this dilemma. Instead of containing iron, IronCatch contains fish oligosaccharides to increase bioavailability and the absorption of iron in its heme and non-heme form. IronCatch is the first innovative and natural supplement that is free from iron and gluten. It has been proven to be effective in the improvement of symptoms of iron deficiency (ID). The positive changes have been shown through blood tests taken from patients who have suffered from ID or have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and were on the supplement. Another big plus of this supplement is that it contains antioxidants, which burst immunity and increase the resistance of our organism to viral and microbial infections.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the number of anemic people worldwide to be as shocking as two billion, as well as the idea that approximately 50 percent of all anemia is due to ID. One of the most dangerous and dramatic health effects of severe anemia is the increased risk of maternal and child mortality. There is a negative impact of IDA on cognitive and physical development in children. It also causes a lack of energy and capacity work performance in adults. Despite anemia being recognized as a public health issue for many years, small progress has been made and the presence of anemia remains unacceptably high.
Patients typically have poor adherence to treatments involving iron and iron-containing supplements due to side effects from iron, its intolerance, and the long duration of the treatment (around six months). IronCatch as an alternative is iron-free, meaning it does not have the side effects of ironcontaining supplements. It is gluten-free, fast-acting, and is easy to use. Patients can easily undergo the course of treatment and be compliant with it.
So what is iron and why is it essential for life?
Iron is an important mineral and is found in many foods. It is also added to some food products and is available as a dietary supplement. This element is vital for all living organisms, as it plays a big role in multiple metabolic processes such as oxygen and electron transport and DNA synthesis. As a component of hemoglobin (Hb), an erythrocyte protein, iron helps transfer oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Iron is also a part of myoglobin, and it supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissues. Iron is also part of mitochondrial cytochromes. This microelement is necessary for physical growth, neurological development, cellular functioning, as well as the synthesis of some hormones.
There are two known forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Plants and iron-fortified foods contain non-heme iron, which is poorly absorbed by our body; while meat, seafood, and poultry contain both, heme and non-heme iron. To get the required amount of iron the diet must include: “Meat (beef, pork, lamb, and liver), poultry (chicken, turkey, liver, and dark meat), fish, oysters, leafy green members of the cabbage family including broccoli, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, legumes including peas, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, iron-enriched pastas, grains, rice, cereals, dark chocolate, baked potatoes, lean leaf, canned tomatoes” (Harper). It was established from isotope studies that iron bioavailability for the mixed diet in subjects whose bodies lack iron stores completely to be the range of 14–18 percent, but for a vegetarian diet, it is around 5–12 percent (Hurrell).
There are inhibitors and enhancers of iron absorption.
Inhibitors, which prevent the absorption of iron, include: “Phytate (in plant-based diets), polyphenols (in plant foods and beverages, such as vegetables, fruits, some cereals and legumes, tea, coffee, and wine), calcium (negative effect on non-heme and heme iron absorption), proteins (animal proteins, such as milk proteins, egg proteins (egg whites), and albumin, have been shown to inhibit iron absorption, proteins from soybean also decrease iron absorption” (Hurrell).
Enhancers include: Ascorbic acid, muscle tissues, and vitamin A. Ascorbic acid can override the negative effects of iron absorption by all inhibitors and is dose-dependent. This effect was noticed due to the ability to reduce the ferric state of iron to ferrous iron and its potential to chelate iron. It is the main absorption enhancer in vegetarian and vegan diets. The other iron absorption inducer is muscle tissue. Muscle tissue has an enhancing effect of fish, meat, and poultry and it was calculated that 30 grams of muscle tissue are equal to 25 mg of ascorbic acid. It was reported that the addition of fish, beef, and chicken to main meals can double or triple non-heme iron absorption (Hurrell). Absorption and distribution of iron in the plasma and throughout is predominantly regulated by the peptide hormone hepcidin. The main role of iron transportation belongs to the protein called transferrin. An increase in the level of hepcidin can lead to a decrease in serum iron levels. The loss of iron primarily occurs in the urine, and by the desquamation of the cells from the skin and gastrointestinal tract (GI).
Using the information above we can conclude that a healthy diet must contain both heme and non-heme iron. However, bioavailability depends on other factors such as iron absorption inhibitors and inducers. Patients that take IronCatch can follow their diet, while the supplement aids in the absorption of heme and non-heme iron. It was calculated that the average male absorbs and loses around 1 mg of iron from their diet, while females in their childbearing years lose about 2 mg of iron daily. To maintain equilibrium, females must absorb a similar amount of iron. Women consume less food than the average man and also lose about 500 mg of iron with each pregnancy. During each menstrual cycle, the loss of iron was calculated to be from 10 to 250 mL (4 to 100 mg of iron). This increases the urgency for efficient iron absorption for women in comparison to males to avoid ID and maintain the iron equilibrium (Harper).
Signs and symptoms of IDA: Fatigue, unexplained generalized weakness, and tiredness, lack of energy and diminished capacity to perform work or exercise;
- Leg cramps on climbing stairs;
- Pica, which is an unusual craving for ice (in some cases, cold celery or other cold vegetables) to suck or chew, dirt, paint or starch;
- Poor scholastic performance and learning difficulties;
- Cold intolerance, and impaired body temperature regulation,
- Decreased immunity and reduced resistance to infections;
- Altered behavior (like attention deficit disorder);
- Dysphagia with solid foods (from esophageal webbing);
- Worsened symptoms of comorbid cardiac or pulmonary disease. Other findings include impaired growth in infants, pallor of mucous membranes, pale or having yellow skin, spoon-shaped nails (koilonychia), a glossy tongue, with atrophy of the lingual papillae, fissures at the corners of the mouth (angular stomatitis), shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with activity, rapid heartbeat, headache especially with activity, splenomegaly, pseudotumor cerebri (in severe cases) (Harper).
IDA can cause difficulty concentrating and impaired cognitive function. IDA during pregnancy increases the risk of maternal and infant mortality, low birth weight and premature birth (Harper).Treatment of ID and IDA:
As a treatment and prophylactic for ID and IDA, patients used iron-containing medications and supplements; however, this treatment fails to solve the problem due to its side effects and failure in patient compliance. So what is the treatment and why is it important? The management of IDA mostly includes treatment of the underlying etiology and replenishing the iron stores:
Despite being a sufficient treatment, there are a variety of negative impacts. The side effects of iron and iron-containing supplements are:
- Oral ferrous iron salts (ferrous sulfate is the most commonly used iron salt).
- Parenteral iron is reserved for patients who are unable to absorb oral iron or have no improvement in the anemic state despite adequate oral iron replacement.
- Transfusion of packed RBC mostly used for patients who are experiencing acute bleeding or are in danger of hypoxia and/or coronary insufficiency (Harper).
- An upset stomach and stomach pain;
- Constipation or diarrhea;
- Nausea and heartburn;
- Stool and urine discoloration;
- Liquid iron and iron supplements can cause black discoloration of teeth;
- Intramuscular iron injections are painful and can cause permanent scarring;
- Increase the risk of nosebleeds, especially in inherited disorders that affect blood vessels formation (hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia);
- In patients with IBD, peptic ulcer disease and celiac disease causes GI irritation and worsen the symptoms;
- Increase of risk of heart disease in women with type 2 diabetes.
Taking supplements with meals will reduce some of the side effects of iron supplements, but since food decreases iron absorption, it is suggested to take iron or iron supplements on an empty stomach. Nausea can be reduced by some entericcoated or controlled-release iron products; however, the body may not be able to absorb these products as well.
A single dose of an iron-containing supplement of 10–20 mg/kg already may cause adverse symptoms (Arnason). It is not recommended to take more than 45 mg/day of elemental iron if one does not have ID. Doses in the amount of 60 mg/kg can be lethal for kids (“Iron”). Iron toxicity happens when:
- People overdose on iron-containing supplements;
- The intake of high doses of iron-containing supplements for too long;
- Suffer from chronic iron overload disorder.
Over time iron overload can increase the risk of arthritis, cancer (like colon cancer), liver problems, diabetes and heart failure (due to iron accumulation in tissues and organs). Some studies show that iron-containing supplements can increase the frequency and severity of infections. The other drugs which interact with iron supplements are anti-acid, H2 antagonists, pancrelipase and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) like lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec), they cause a decrease of iron absorption (Arnarson).
As we can see the iron and iron-containing supplements are dangerous, and it is important to be aware and cautious of the dosage and type of iron-containing formulations taken. That is why researchers have been searching for a new supplement that will increase the blood iron level, improve the symptoms of anemia, and will be well tolerated by patients. IronCatch is the first supplement that fulfills all these characteristics.
When compared to iron preparations and iron-containing supplements, IronCatch does not cause constipation, dark stool, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, and urine discoloration. It is a new technologically renovated supplement that has rapid activity and is gluten-free. Additionally, since it is iron-free, there is no risk of iron overdose or intoxication.
What is IronCatch and its mechanism of action?
IronCatch was invented in Italy. It is composed of shark and skate cartilage which was selected, hydrolyzed, and standardized in glycosaminoglycans. IronCatch is composed of fish oligosaccharides as well as vitamins like folic acid, ascorbic acid, and alpha-tocopherol, and it contains microelements like zinc and copper. These components support each other in one main goal: To improve the clinical picture and health in patients with ID and IDA. These ingredients were formulated together in a special way to create a unique formula.
One component is alpha-tocopherol, an antioxidant and an important fat-soluble vitamin that protects cells against damage by free radicals (by-products of normal cell activity). Due to its ability to protect red blood cells (RBC) from rupturing, alphatocopherol can be used in hemolytic anemias as well (Johnson).
Another important component of IronCatch is ascorbic acid, which is vital for iron absorption. This vitamin, due to its antioxidant properties, has many uses including an immunity booster. It increases our immunity and helps to fight viral and microbial infections. Ascorbic acid is a very effective adjuvant therapy agent for the treatment of anemia in patients receiving erythrocyte-stimulating agents or iron. It was demonstrated that vitamin C treatment increases Hb level.
This vitamin works together with other components of this formula by increasing the therapeutic effect of the compound and improving anemia symptoms.
Folate, or vitamin B9, is another important micronutrient of the supplement. Folate aids with DNA synthesis and erythropoiesis. Megaloblastic anemia, characterized by larger than normal and not fully developed RBC, is caused by low levels or a deficiency of folic acid and low levels of white blood cells and platelets (Cafasso). Folate is important for pregnancy as a deficiency of folate can cause serious birth defects in the development of the spinal cord and brain of a developing fetus (neural tube defects).
Now let’s talk about the microelements in the compound, what they do and what important role they carry in the presenting supplement, specifically zinc and copper. Zinc and copper are very important for optimal innate immune function, nutritional deficiency of either metal can lead to high susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections.
Zinc is a valuable element to this supplement as it possesses several qualities, one of them being an immune health supporter. Zinc boosts immunity and plays a big role in the prevention of viral and bacterial diseases It is best known for its use as adjuvant therapy against various viruses and bacterial infections. Additionally, it plays one of the regulating roles in iron metabolism. As a component of IronCatch, zinc is a microelement that possesses the valuable quality to support the immune system and the organism’s health in general by increasing the level of iron in the blood. Another unique ingredient is copper.
Notably, both iron and copper deficiency are connected and can occur in some populations despite following a normal diet. It is suggested that extra copper is necessary for pregnancy and lactation, and this requirement is not often met by the diet. Moreover, many prenatal supplements no longer contain copper. Copper deficiency in infants was connected to low Hb and serum iron. Copper deficiency also leads to Anemia, which was often reported in adults.
In conclusion, IronCatch is a revolutionary and unique mixture of fish oligosaccharides, vitamins, and microelements that work together to improve the healthy state of our organism. This supplement can be used as adjuvant therapy to improve the anemic state in patients with ID, IDA, or in general. The main goal of this supplement is to increase iron absorption from one’s diet. In other words, this supplement is not intended for use as an anti-gas or as a digestion promotant. While taking IronCatch, the patient must be aware of the certain types of foods they intake. This supplement will not prevent bloating (gas formation) or food indigestion. This supplement is also not intended to treat or prevent GI disorders. Instead, IronCatch can be used as an alternative to iron therapy or iron-containing supplements.
IronCatch enhances the rate at which iron is absorbed by three to five times. This is the only supplement that shows significant results within 30 days, regardless of the individual’s diet. There is a noticeable improvement in the energy level of patients, along with a drastic decrease in dizziness and fatigue. It makes daily activities and routines easier. This supplement increases the absorption of heme and non-heme iron. It can also be used for different kinds of anemia regardless of the presence of bowel inflammatory disease since it is an ironfree product and has no known side effects or risks of an iron overdose. Being gluten-free, this compound is suitable for patients with celiac disease. This supplement can also promote erythropoiesis and RBC stabilization due to its unique formula that contains antioxidants and microelements. Thanks to the addition of antioxidants this supplement can be used as an immunomodulator to boost immunity and increase the resistance of our organism against viruses and bacterial infections. The supplement is simple to use: Take one to two tablets a day, depending on the severity of symptoms, right before main meals for one month, then continue with one tablet a day right before main meals. The course of treatment is influenced by blood tests and the general improvement in the anemia symptoms.
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Victoria Rabi, MD
Victoria is a medical doctor specialized in internal medicine who earned her degree in 1999, at Volgograd Medical University, Russia. She has always had a passion for research. During her student years at the university, she received letters of appreciation for participation in research from the Dept. of Therapy and from the Dept. of Toxicology and Military. In 2007, she received certification from ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates). In addition to this, she received a certificate of completion for pre-clinical acculturation training from AmeriClerkships Medical Society. She has a certificate of completion “Protecting Human Research Participants” training course as well as certificates in HIPAA, BLS, ACLS, PALS, Blood Borne Pathogens and others. She is currently a member of the American Medical Association, a member of the American Medical Student Association, and a member of AmeriClerkships Medical Society. From 2012 until 2015, she was a Graduate Research Assistant at the Dept. of Emergency Medicine in Mt. Sinai Hospital, Chicago. She participated in studies like utilization violence prevention, diagnosis of unsuspected psychiatric illnesses in the emergency department (ED), boarding study, comparison usual ENA versus Canadian triage, compliance of medications by patients presenting in ED, and many others. Her passion for research and care for global problems are presented in the article “Pylo-x: The Innovative Solution For H.Pylori.”