Fortunately, there are a few factors that help keep hepcidin levels lower, to encourage iron absorption.
THE FIRST STEP IN MINIMIZING HEPCIDIN IS REDUCING INFLAMMATION.
I realize this is certainly easier said than done for those struggling with chronic inflammatory conditions, but there are a couple things you can proactively do to minimize inflammation. (These are for both those with chronic inflammation or anyone looking to improve their ability to absorb iron.)
Take a collagen supplement. There is a ton of science behind the benefits of taking collagen, but as it relates to iron absorption. Collagen Peptides have a powerful amino acid profile that work to heal the lining of the intestinal wall, which is what we often hear referred to as ‘leaky gut’, and Collagen helps to improve nutrient absorption, and reduce inflammation.
Then choose an iron supplement that has better bioavailability and is easier on the gut, so that it doesn’t cause the intestinal inflammation that will trigger the release of hepcidin. Heme iron supplements are easier on the stomach, because they are naturally more bioavailable than non-heme supplements.
THE SECOND FACTOR IN DECREASING HEPCIDIN PRODUCTION IS TIMING.
Without the supplement induced inflammation, studies show us that Hepcidin is naturally lowest earlier in the day and peaks in the evening to fall and repeat the cycle again the next day.
If you are taking a non-heme iron supplement, it's important to take it earlier in the day to try and harness hepcidin’s natural rhythm.
(Heme iron utilizes a different mechanism of absorption, so it is not greatly affected by hepcidin.)
THE FINAL FACTOR THAT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO REDUCE HEPCIDIN LEVELS IS OPTIMAL VITAMIN D.
We’ve known for a while that optimal vitamin D levels reduce inflammation, but now scientists are finding that there is a strong link between vitamin D and hepcidin.
Vitamin D is an extremely common nutrient deficiency and it often accompanies low iron. Studies have revealed that daily vitamin D supplementation reduces circulating hepcidin levels by 34% for 24 hours! (Click here to learn more about important blood tests, including Vitamin D)
As you can see, understanding hepcidin’s role in iron absorption is key to effectively using supplementation to improve iron levels.