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LETTER TO EDITOR
Adv Biomed Res 2015,  4:137

Complementary and alternative medicine iron preparations: A cost-effective, rationale and accessible solution for public health problems


1 Department of Pharmacology and Orthopaedics, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Mewat, Haryana, India
2 Department of Orthopaedics, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Mewat, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication27-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohammed Imran
Department of Pharmacology, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Mewat - 122 107, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2277-9175.161534

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How to cite this article:
Imran M, Sharma SC, Sharma P. Complementary and alternative medicine iron preparations: A cost-effective, rationale and accessible solution for public health problems. Adv Biomed Res 2015;4:137

How to cite this URL:
Imran M, Sharma SC, Sharma P. Complementary and alternative medicine iron preparations: A cost-effective, rationale and accessible solution for public health problems. Adv Biomed Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Oct 15];4:137. Available from: http://www.advbiores.net/text.asp?2015/4/1/137/161534

Sir,

Article by Syed Sadat Ali entitled "A brief review of risk-factors for growth and developmental delay among preschool children in developing countries" has highlighted the prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in developing countries such as India. [1] Iron deficiency anaemia among them is the most prevalent deficiency leading to several negative effects on important functions of the body. Infants and small children are particularly vulnerable as it is associated with impaired performance of mental and physical coordination, activity and brain development which cannot be reversed by giving iron later on. The long standing iron deficiency has led to a reduction of physical work capacity leading to important health and socio-economic consequences in larger population.

Iron supplementation, iron fortification of certain foods and nutrition education to improve the amount of iron absorbed from the diet by increasing the intake of iron to improve the bioavailability of the dietary iron is well prescribed solution. However the bioavailability of iron in the diet is limited due to mucosal block of ferrous form of iron and compliance due to undesirable metallic taste, gastrointestinal problems and cost of the therapy. Conversely avoiding the occurrence of metallic taste would require lowering of the content of iron in the supplements, which would render the supplement ineffective. [2]

The complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) iron preparations are cost-effective as they contain the ferric as well as ferrous form. Out of the total iron content more than 80% are in the form of ferric oxide and ferrous oxide. The iron in these preparations undergoes seven to nine times of ignition in earthen pots and thus contains more oxides than other preparations of iron. [3] The iron present in these preparations is neither the iron salts nor contains any organic matter in them.

Allopathic preparations contain iron in the ferrous form while alternative system of medicine (Unani and Ayurvedic) prescribes iron preparations where iron is dominant in ferric form. The concept of iron absorption in the former case is based on the mucosal block hypothesis where iron is supposed to get absorbed in the ferrous form while the later preparations are based on the chelation hypothesis where either forms of iron gets absorbed passively through the intestine after forming molecular complexes with the chaperone proteins such as β3 -integrin and mobilferrin. [4]

Many of the studies have supported the fact that alternate transport mechanisms exist in the enterocyte to absorb the iron in the enterocytes. One of such transcytosis involves large molecular weight complexes with the ferric form of iron that is known as paraferritin and helps vectorial transport of iron from the apical membrane to the basolateral membrane of the enterocytes. This is necessary as the free iron whether ferrous or ferric form is reactive and insoluble and leads to the generation of the reactive oxygen species via Haber-Weiss reaction in the cell. [5] In addition to that iron preparation of alternative system of medicine also lacks the gastrointestinal irritable side-effects. Thus, CAM supplements are scientifically more rationale, cheaper and having wider cultural acceptability in the society.

 
  References Top

1.
Ali SS. A brief review of risk-factors for growth and developmental delay among preschool children in developing countries. Adv Biomed Res 2013;4:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Hillman RS. Hematopoietic agents: Growth factors minerals and vitamins. In: Hardman JG, Limbird LE, editors. Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 10 th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2003. p. 1487-517.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Bhargava SC, Reddy KR, Sastry GV. Identifications studies of lauha bhasma by X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence. Ayu 2012;33:143-5.   Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
4.
Umbreit JN, Conrad ME, Moore EG, Desai MP, Turrens J. Paraferritin: A protein complex with ferrireductase activity is associated with iron absorption in rats. Biochemistry 1996;35:6460-9.   Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Ma Y, Yeh M, Yeh KY, Glass J. Iron imports. V. Transport of iron through the intestinal epithelium. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2006;290:G417-22.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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