Physician Questions

Q. How is the starting material collected and processed?

A. Our bovine red blood cells are collected from one of the largest meat processing plants in the country and are certified edible by the USDA. This is then transported to our manufacturing facility in Cozad, Nebraska where it is enzymatically digested, filtered, and cooked. 


Q. Is your Nebraska facility certified?

A. Yes, our Nebraska facility is Food Safety Certified and cGMP compliant. 


Q. Are there any studies performed that use Proferrin?

A. Yes, there are many studies that have been performed using Proferrin.


Q. What is the difference between Proferrin and the other iron supplements on the market?

A. Proferrin products include Heme Iron Polypeptide (HIP) as the active ingredient. HIP is derived from bovine red blood cells and goes through enzymatic digestion, ultrafiltration, and a unique process to Colorado Biolabs to ensure the final product consists SOLELY of the porphyrin iron of the original heme-protein which is bonded as heme to amino  acid chains which are shorter than the amino acid chains in the original heme-protein.


Q. Does anyone else manufacture heme iron(US or abroad)? 

A. Not in the US but in the past other international companies produced a similar product. These products likely do not utilize USDA edible blood cells and, in several cases, we have third-party tested these products and discovered they do not actually contain Heme Iron Polypeptide. Some companies offer a heme iron supplement made from liver parts. However, these products do not produce an effective amount of iron. In many cases, FT-IR fingerprint testing revealed that these products are in fact, not heme iron. Signs of “fake” heme iron products are color (bovine heme iron polypeptide is dark gray/black, not brown) and very cheap pricing.


Q. What other products have heme iron?

A: Proferrin and Feosol Complete are the only heme iron supplements available in the US as an iron supplement utilizing USDA edible red blood cells. Proferrin is found in Proferrin ES and Proferrin Forte (and Clear) as well as Biferra and Preferra OB.


Q. Can children take Proferrin?

A: It has been used by children who have the recommendation of their pediatrician or physician. However, we don’t have any studies on Proferrin or HIP that involve children, so we cannot say for certain whether it is safe or unsafe. Any potential customer asking if it’s safe for children should first consult their physician. If they have done so and would like to try Proferrin:

Information found on the clinical pharmacology website suggests the following Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron for oral nutritional supplementation in otherwise healthy children:

Children 9-13 years; 8 mg daily

Children 4-8 years; 10 mg daily

Children 1-3 years; 7 mg daily

Infants 6-12 months; 11 mg daily

All recommendations are expressed in terms of elemental iron.  These RDA’s were revised by the IOM Food and Nutrition Board in Jan 2011. This would require most children to take a portion of one Proferrin tablet or capsule. As such, recommend that they purchase a pill cutter.


Q. How do I compare ionic iron to heme iron?

A: 1 tablet of ES or Forte provides as much iron as taking 2 or 3 tablets of an iron in ionic form, such as Feosol or SlowFe (ferrous iron or iron salts, polysaccharide iron complex, and other form of non-heme iron) or 1 or 2 tablets of Hemocyte, with much fewer side effects.

Feosol: 65mg

SlowFe: 45mg

Hemocyte: 106mg

*These products also contain folic acid

Dosage equivalent for ferrous iron (also dependent on body weight):

<300mg = 1 Proferrin tablet/capsule

300-500mg = 2 Proferrin tablets/capsules

500-750mg  = 3 Proferrin tablets/capsules

Many of the products actually show a higher amount of iron on the product label but it is equivalent to the amount of elemental iron listed above due to the poorer absorption rate. 


Q. Is it OK for pregnant women to take?

A: Yes, the general recommendation is to take 1-3 tablets per day (for ES) or as directed by your doctor (for Forte). Based on HIP studies done by Asahi.


Q. What are the ingredients in the tablet?

A: Proferrin Forte: 12mg elemental iron as heme iron polypeptide and 1 mg folic acid

Proferrin ES: 10.5 mg elemental iron as heme polypeptide

Proferrin Clear: 10.5 mg elemental iron as heme iron polypeptide (capsule) 


Q. Do we make a version that can be taken by vegetarians?

A: Because Proferrin is derived from red blood cells of an animal (bovine), if you prefer not to use products made from animal sources, other non heme iron-containing products should be used.  However, many vegetarians accept Proferrin due to the high purity and the fact that no complete blood fractions remain in the finished product. Additionally, all other manufacturing components are plant based.


Q: Is it BSE (Mad Cow Disease)? (How safe is it? What precautions are taken?)

A: The agents that cause BSE, prions, are usually not found in blood and the raw materials for Proferrin products undergo the same safety screening as meat products.  All animals used for collection of red blood cells are inspected for health both pre-mortem and ante-mortem by the onsite USDA veterinarian which enables all batches of starting materials to be “certified edible” by the USDA.  The product is produced in the US which falls under a “Controlled Risk” designation by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and materials are collected at a facility in which there has never been a case of BSE discovered. We have also tested for BSE on many lots and never received a positive result.


Q: How big is the tablet?

A:The ES and Forte tablet is long and narrow, with a smooth coating designed to be easy to swallow and can be broken or crushed. The tablets are smaller than most multivitamins of similar shape. Clear is a 2 piece hard shell capsule (size “00” capsule).


Q: Why does it have so much fewer milligrams of iron compared to other iron supplements?

A: Because the elemental iron is in the natural heme form, it is absorbed 10-23 times better than equal amounts of iron salt, such as ferrous fumarate. Therefore, you need less heme iron to get the same or better absorption than using 70-125 mg of elemental iron in iron salts.


Q: How do I compare ionic iron to heme iron?

A: 1 tablet of Proferrin provides as much iron as taking 2 or 3 tablets of an iron in ionic form, such as Feosol or SlowFe, with much lower side effects. 


Q: Do you offer patient assistance programs?

A: Not at this time.


Q: How much will it cost at my pharmacy?

A: The end cost at the pharmacy is specific to each pharmacy.


Q: Can you send me free samples?

A: Free samples of ES, Forte and Clear can be sent to individuals/clinicians. If you have registered here for a physician account, you can add the free samples to your cart from the shop page.


Q: Will this product affect any of my medical tests involving blood?

A: As long is it a fit test, not a guaiac test, there won’t be any false positives since the FIT test is specific to human antibodies and does not detect dietary hemoglobin.


Common Patient Questions

Q: Can I take this with other medications?

A: It is always best to consult with your physician before adding a new supplement to your regimen, especially in regards to interactions with medications. There are no known interactions with other medications.


Q: I’m an endurance athlete, will this help me?

A: Yes, Proferrin has been used by Olympic Athletes in the past and has been shown to help maintain healthy iron levels. Healthy iron levels are essential for proper oxygen binding & transport, where the demand is much larger for long distance runners. Healthy iron levels are crucial in maintaining muscle function and cellular energy.


Q: Will Medicare or prescription insurance cover the expense of Proferrin?

A: No, it will not.


Q: I am pregnant and have low iron, can I safely take Proferrin?

A: Yes, studies have shown that Proferrin has helped maintain healthy iron levels in pregnant women. As always, it is best to consult with your physician prior to adding any new supplement to your regimen.


Q: Is Proferrin organic? Is it gluten, soybean, wheat, corn free?

A: All Proferrin products has been tested for gluten and no detectable levels of gluten were present. There are no soybeans, wheat or corn used in the production of our product, however we have not tested for these allergens.


Q: OTC iron is 45 mg and Proferrin only has 12 mg iron, won’t I be taking less iron?

A: The type of iron is key in understanding how much iron is being absorbed. Most typical iron supplements are made from cheap plant materials that have been shown to have poor absorption. In comparison to these products, Proferrin has shown to be absorbed at a rate 35 times higher than non heme iron supplements. This means you need less mg’s in order to achieve the same (if not greater) effect. 


Q: Why is Proferrin more expensive than other irons I could buy online?

A: Proferrin’s iron is 100% heme iron polypeptide (HIP). In comparison to cheap plant materials, HIP is derived from bovine RBC’s and goes through a proprietary manufacturing process to ensure it is highly bioavailable. 


Q: What is folic acid and why do I need it?

A: Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9 and is important for cell growth metabolism, and healthy red blood cell production. The need for folate increases significantly during pregnancy as it plays a role in cell growth metabolism and RBC production.


Q: What form of folic acid/folate is used in Proferrin Forte?

A: Proferrin Forte utilized Folic Acid.

Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9