All about Iron

Iron is an essential mineral. The body needs iron for growth and development – what does this mean?

The main function of iron in your body is to make haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

When iron stores in the body get too low, iron deficiency anaemia can set in. This is when the red blood cells become smaller and smaller as they contain less haemoglobin. The end result of this is that the blood carries less oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.

Iron deficiency can occur especially among young children, women under 50 and pregnant women. It can also occur in people who do not eat meat or have conditions that affect nutrient absorption from their gut.

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia?

The Iron supplement that's easy on the gut.

Chela-fer® is an iron supplement for healthy red blood cell formation and function. It also contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

What is Chela-fer®?

Chela-fer® replenishes iron stores in the body. It is an iron supplement for healthy red blood cell formation and function, assisting with the transport of oxygen throughout the body. It also contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Chela-fer® is a chelated iron supplement. It contains the chelated iron salt ferrous bisglycinate chelate. Chela-fer® with Ferrous Bisglycinate utilises organic amino acids as carriers for the iron molecules to improve absorption in the body. Chela-fer® also contains folic acid, a vitamin which helps to form red blood cells and assist the body in metabolising proteins.

Chela-fer® is available in a syrup for infants and children and as tablets in two different strengths for children aged 14 years and older and adults. 

Does Chela-fer® have any side effects?

As with most iron supplements, Chela-fer® can have side effects. 

Side effects may include:

  • gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation, diarrhoea and/or vomiting. 

As Chela-fer® uses a chelated form of iron, Ferrous Bisglycinate, the side effect profile is minimised. For more information on Ferrous Bisglycinate click here.

Should your general health worsen or if you experience any untoward effects while taking this medicine, please consult your healthcare provider for advice.

How do you take Chela-fer®?

Always take Chela-fer® as per the label or as instructed. You should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure. 

Iron supplements are best taken with a meal to decrease the chance of gastrointestinal upset. It is important not to take a double dose to make up for forgotten individual doses.

If you are on any medication or suffering from any medical condition, it is advisable to seek medical advice before starting any new medicine, supplement or remedy.

Who needs iron and when?

Certain groups of people are more likely than others to have low iron levels

Pregnant women.

 A pregnant woman requires more iron than normal to support her body and her growing baby. Insufficient iron during pregnancy can result in low birthweight infants, premature birth and iron deficiency anaemia in the mother. Getting too little iron might also harm her infants brain development. Breast milk contains highly bioavailable iron but in amounts that are not sufficient to meet the needs of infants older than 4 to 6 months.

Teen girls and young women with heavy periods.

Frequent blood donors.

People with cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, or heart failure.

How much iron do you need?

People should get most of their nutrients, vitamins and minerals from food and beverages however during specific life stages, such as pregnancy or infancy, it is important to ensure your body is getting enough iron.

Iron is found naturally in many foods and is also added to some foods (called iron fortified foods).


Typical iron-containing foods include:

Average daily recommended amounts and daily upper limits:


Daily recommended amount

Upper limit*

Birth to 6 months

0.27 mg

40 mg

Infants 7 – 12 months

11 mg

Children 1 – 3 years

7 mg 

Children 4 – 8 years

10 mg 

Children 9 – 13 years

8 mg 

Teens: boys 14 – 18 years

11 mg

45 mg

Teens: girls 14 – 18 years

15 mg

Adult men 19 – 50 years 

8 mg

Adult women 19 – 50 years 

18 mg

Adults 51 years and older

8 mg

Pregnant teens/women

27 mg

Breastfeeding teens

10 mg

Breastfeeding women

9 mg

* Your doctor may prescribe more than the upper limit of iron if requiring higher doses to treat iron deficiency

Average daily recommended amounts and daily upper limits:

Dietary iron comes in 2 forms: heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is easier for the body to absorb than non-heme.


Heme iron

Non-heme iron

Plant foods and iron-fortified foods3d


Meat, seafood, poultry3d

Iron from vegetables, fruits, gains and supplements is harder for the body to absorb. If you eat a plant-based diet, it is good to include food items high in vitamin C.

  • Mixing iron rich vegetables with iron-rich meat will improve the total iron absorption.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes) can also increase iron absorption from non-heme sources of food.

Iron supplements.

There are different forms of iron salts used in different supplements, these include ferrous and ferric salts. Ferrous iron is more bioavailable than ferric iron and is used more often in oral supplements.

The importance of elemental iron. What is elemental iron?

Elemental iron is the total amount of iron in the supplement available for absorption by your body. Each type of iron has a different percent of elemental iron. Always check how much elemental iron your supplement releases for your body and for your recommended intake. 

For more information on amounts of elemental iron in CHELA-FER® range of products, click here 

Chelated iron

Many minerals are difficult for your body to absorb. To achieve better absorption minerals are often ‘chelated” (bound to) other compounds that increase the absorption of the complex and boost your body’s uptake of the mineral at hand. 

CHELA-FER® utilises this process: the iron is chelated which means that a smaller dose of iron can be administered as its absorption is better than non-chelated forms of the same iron. This is beneficial as less side effects are likely and there is less chance of iron overload (taking too much iron). 

For more on benefits of taking chelated iron and CHELA-FER®, click here 

Latest Articles

January 24, 2023
Can A Heavy Period Cause Iron Deficiency
Do you find that you feel tired, weak, short of breath, and lightheaded with reduced concentration and focus during your monthly period cycle?
Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 09.07.58
September 10, 2021
Symptoms of iron deficiency – All day headache
All day headache: Play Video
Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 09.07.41
September 10, 2021
Symptoms of iron deficiency – Insomnia
Insomnia: Play Video
Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 09.07.27
September 10, 2021
Symptoms of iron deficiency – Out of breath
Out of breath: Play Video
Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 09.07.09
September 10, 2021
Symptoms of iron deficiency – Bad nails
Bad nails: Play Video
Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 08.54.35
September 10, 2021
Symptoms of iron deficiency – Bad hair day
Bad hair day: Play Video