Natural Iron Supplements:
Black Strap Molasses
There are numerous medicines in your cupboard. The best natural iron supplements can be found there too. Black Strap Molasses is one of the best sources. Molasses is more than a sweetener.
Natural Iron Supplements Need to Know
Why is black strap molasses so good?
What is the science behind it?
How much should you take?
When sugar is being processed, it is stripped of almost all of its nutrients. Those by-products are nutrients that make up molasses. The amount of minerals in molasses are significant.
The Molasses Iron Irony
There are no high level studies on the absorption of black strap molasses. There is a lot of conjecture on numerous web sites.
However there is a lot of interesting anecdotal evidence. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that if you put them together, make an interesting picture.
Literature says that iron in meat (heme iron source) is easy for the body to break down and absorb. Iron from grains and vegetables, the non-heme iron, is not as readily absorbed. That is the theory.
We also know that taking the non-heme iron with a protein increases its absorption. Add vitamin C and it does its job even better.
Blood plasma carries and transports iron bound to transferrin. It is only transferred to the cells with the appropriate cell markers. This helps prevent bacteria from getting the iron and making more bacteria.
Lactoferrin, which is of the transferrin family, binds iron to limit bacterial growth. Heme iron sources have been linked to certain cancers (remember this is only one piece of the 100 million piece puzzle so do not stop eating meat on this account).
So putting this all together, when a patient has a low blood count (the lowest I case managed was Hgb 2.9 and HCT 8.6) they have a built in defense to help protect them from bacterial invasion. In these patients, the doctors have given EPO (synthetic hormone that potentates blood production), 1 table spoon of black strap molasses, one table spoon of peanut butter (store bought and not the hospital kind) vitamin B6, B9, B12 and vitamin C. This has resulted in a 2-3 gram increase in blood counts in as little as 24 hours.
Increasing intake of vitamin-C rich foods can enhance absorption of non-heme iron during a single meal. One orange or 6 ounces of orange juice can double the amount of iron your body absorbs from plant foods. (Taking vitamin C supplements does not appear to have any significant effect on iron stores.)Foods containing riboflavin (vitamin B2) may help enhance the formation of hemoglobin from iron.
Note: The EPO only works if there are the building blocks to make the blood. This is not a study, rather an actual experience with several patients using black strap molasses.
The following are molasses brand / quality dependent.
Men need about 3-5 Tbsp to get 100 percent RDA.
Women need around 59 Tbsp to get 100 percent RDA.
This should not be the only source of iron. Also, it should not be an every day routine. Rather any three to four days of the week and the other days get it from other sources.
Iron and Bacterial Infection
Because there is a link between iron bioavailability and bacterial growth. some think that it would be best to not take iron supplements during illness. Some studies seem to indicate it can increase the risk of infection. In contrast, a slight deficiency in iron levels can offer protection against acute infection.
Here is where molasses is a sweet natural iron supplement in more ways than you could imagine.
Some studies seem to show that iron helps boost your glutathione. So any risk of acute infection would be negated by the increased glutathione if the precursors were also included in the diet.
By some estimates, iron will enhance the use of cysteine to boost your glutathione levels three times better than cysteine alone. If this it true, then a 30% increase in glutathione would be 90 percent.
What are the precursors? Just about any and all that are needed to make glutathione. Many have heart healthy benefits on their own. Here is a list.
- Vitamin C
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B-6
Based on actual evidence and scientific research, molasses seems to be a superior source for a natural iron supplements. It is also the source of many of the cofactors of glutathione production as well.
There is another natural iron supplement that we are looking into. It may even be better than black strap molasses. More to come as we uncover the research.
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