Iron and calcium preparations are necessary during pregnancy - they increase hemoglobin, reducing the risk of anemia, and also strengthen the musculoskeletal tissue of a woman and her unborn child. However, they need to be taken correctly - but how to do it and why is there a need for it?
Absorption of calcium and iron by the body
The amount of absorbed iron in the body is directly related to food components, which inhibit or accelerate its absorption with the simultaneous use of these components. So, the most powerful stimulant of iron absorption is vitamin C, which is contained in fruits and vegetables that pregnant women need to eat.
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, can also accelerate iron absorption.
The acid that enters the body with food forms a complex with iron and prevents the formation of iron phytate, which is poorly absorbed and inhibits the absorption of the drug. Also, some types of grinding and heat treatment affect faster absorption of iron, which reduce the content of poorly absorbed phytate in plant products. The most potent phytates are grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as tea, coffee, cocoa, and some herbs. So, tea drinks reduce the absorption of iron from foods by 62% - this is due to the polyphenol tannin, which is contained in tea.
How to properly drink calcium and iron during pregnancy
Scientists recently conducted a study in which twelve pregnant women took part. They took drugs either in the form of calcium with iron, or only iron, but in less quantity (twice). After that, a blood test was taken, which showed that the absorption of iron from both drugs was almost the same. According to scientists, this effect is due to the fact that calcium was completely absent in the second preparation.
Earlier studies showed that from monopreparations with 65 milligrams of iron, 12% was absorbed, while only 3-5% was absorbed from the polymineral complex (with calcium).
To prevent the mutual influence of iron and calcium, the drugs must be taken separately. So, if a pregnant woman has breakfast with milk and cheese, eating meat or fish after 2-4 hours will completely saturate her body with the necessary dose of iron. Therefore, scientists and nutritionists recommend separating the intake of foods containing calcium and foods rich in iron, using the first category for breakfast, and the second for lunch or dinner. The same goes for taking calcium supplements and iron supplements - separate use will allow them to be fully absorbed in the body.