• How does GlobiFer work

    GlobiFer is registered as a food supplement and can consequently be purchased from the pharmacy without a prescription. Contact your doctor to determine the most suitable dosage for your specific requirements.


How does GlobiFer work?

Heme and non-heme iron

Our food contains two dietary forms of iron, non-heme iron and heme iron. 90% of iron intake comes from non-heme iron, and only a small portion, 10%, comes from heme iron. Non-heme iron is present in plant foods (vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grain, fruit) and represents most of iron that humans consume in their diets. Non–heme is also the type of iron commonly found in iron food supplements.

Heme iron occurs naturally in animal sources (beef, pork, fish, poultry) and is a key source of dietary iron. It is derived from hemoglobin (in red blood cells) and myoglobin (in muscle tissue), oxygen-binding proteins that contain heme. Heme irons relative importance is attributable to its high bioavailability. Heme iron is the most effective source of iron for people who are iron deficient.

Fig. Hemoglobin consists of 4 chains, and each chain contains heme.
Heme consist of a porphyrin ring with a centrally bound iron molecule.

Heme and Non Heme iron is absorbed by two totally different pathways in the human body. As such, the bioavailability of both iron forms is also different.

Non-heme iron is less readily absorbed (1-15%). It must be broken down in the gut, releasing free iron ions. When taken in high amounts, a large part of the free iron remains unabsorbed due to the poor absorption, resulting in side-effects such as constipation. In addition, dietary factors (tannins, phytates, polyphenols) and stomach acidity can reduce the amount of non-heme iron we absorb.

Heme iron is the most readily absorbed natural source of iron (15-45%) and is therefore a large source of dietary iron. Heme iron is absorbed via a different way than non-heme iron. The entire heme molecule is absorbed so there is no risk of leaving free iron ions in the gastrointestinal tract. The uptake itself is thus efficient and heme iron which is not absorbed will not cause irritations. In addition, its absorption is not negatively affected by dietary factors and stomach acid.

Fig. Non-heme iron needs to be broken down in the gut, resulting
in free iron ions which can cause gastrointestinal side-effects.


Fig. Heme iron is absorbed as a whole unit.
Unabsorbed heme iron doesn’t cause gastrointestinal side-effects.



Prevention or maintenance of iron deficiency has predominantly been the prescription of traditional oral iron supplements. These contain high doses of non-heme iron and have a low bioavailability which often causes nausea, vomiting, gastric pain, constipation or diarrhoea, so intolerance is a common problem. Side-effects decrease if the iron is taken after a meal, but there is an increased risk of interaction with dietary substances in the stomach. Intolerance leads to poor patient compliance. Up to a third of therapies with traditional iron supplements fail due to side-effects. Iron preparations with a lowered iron dosage are therefore of interest. Heme-containing iron preparations could offer a solution. The addition of heme iron increases iron absorption by ~40% so less iron is required for supplementation. The small quantity of free iron ions in the intestinal lumen causes virtually no side-effects.

GlobiFer is a food supplement with a unique and optimised formulation of heme and non-heme iron in combination. The amount of non-heme iron has been optimized resulting in virtually no side-effects and without significant loss of efficacy. This may lead to better patient compliance and shorter treatment period.