Essential Ingredients

Meet Stephen Ashmead from Balchem, our Iron Producer

6 min read

Can you tell us a little about the company?

Albion Minerals®, a subsidiary of Balchem, was established in 1956, by Dr. Harvey Ashmead. It started out as a veterinary medicine company. He developed an interest in minerals and through his research developed some unique mineral forms. It soon became clear that the products that he developed were really helping animals absorb and maximize mineral benefits. So, we took that knowledge to people. From the start, we’ve been an evidence-based company; our products are always backed by third party research and clinical trials. And we hold over 100 patents—from manufacturing processes to food applications. Our goal is to provide consumers with the safe and effective organic minerals they most need.

From Albion’s perspective, why is iron a key ingredient in supplements?

Iron is one of the most commonly lacking minerals in the world. Pregnant women need to make sure they get the right amount of iron. Young women, too, are at high risk of iron deficiency for a number of reasons, from dietary to hormone-related.

How can we tell if we’re low in iron?

There’s a general feeling of tiredness. You’ll get cold easily and feel tired or weak. Low iron levels can easily be confirmed with your medical professional with simple blood work.

Albion’s created what we think is a game-changing delivery system. Can you tell us about that and why it’s so important?

We actually join iron to glycine, a naturally occurring amino acid creating an amino acid chelate structure. This structure is similar to food sources of minerals and helps make the mineral stable, bioavailable and safe. A good way to visualize it is like an M&M. The mineral is the chocolate and then we have this outer candy coating of the amino acid glycine that keeps the product intact and makes sure it “melt” until it is absorbed in the right area of the digestive tract.

Why does it matter where in the digestive tract the iron is absorbed?

It’s very common for iron supplements to get absorbed in the beginning of the digestive tract, but the later segment of gut is where the dipeptides are—these are substances that help iron get absorbed more effectively into the body, so you get more benefit. Later absorption also helps reduce your chances of getting an upset stomach, the likelihood of which increases the earlier the iron’s absorbed.

How is your iron sourced and manufactured?

We make our product in a reaction tank utilizing pure ingredients. We carefully monitor the pH and reaction process, and then the liquid is spray dried. Our product is also kosher, halal, and vegan-friendly. We feel proud to have created something that meets the needs and health concerns consumers have today.

Albion Minerals® is a registered trademark of Albion Laboratories, Inc