What is the chemical difference between iron pills and iron nails?

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Offline carmen price

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whats the chemical difference in iron tablets
and iron nails?  [???]  [???]  [???]
« Last Edit: 19/02/2009 09:33:49 by chris »


Offline Chemistry4me

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Iron in iron nails exists as a metallic solid. It has metallic properties is hard, strong and long lasting. It can be used to produce building materials such as iron nails.
Iron in iron tablets has reacted to form a compound. Metallic properties are destroyed and the
compound is able to make iron available in a form that can be absorbed by the body.


Offline lancenti

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Iron Nails:

Just iron metal. i.e. Oxidation State 0
May or may not be alloyed with other metals

Iron Tablets:

Probably an iron salt. i.e. Oxidation States 2+ or 3+


Offline chris

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Iron in iron tablets is in the Fe 2+ oxidation state, which is the most "bioavailable" i.e. accessible to the human body.

Some iron-rich foodstuffs - like spinach - are paradoxically low in bioavailable iron because it's all bound up in an unusable oxidation state.

Not surprisingly the best sources of dietary iron are red meat and black puddings - because the iron in these is already in a bioavailable state.

Furthermore, consuming some ascorbic acid (vitamin C) alongside something iron-rich is a good way to boost iron uptake because it can competitively prevent iron oxidation (being the anti-oxidant that it is).

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