Ferric pyrophosphate compound of FORTIFERRUM®+ is encapsulated in a liposome composed of a phospholipid bilayer in a rich lecithin structure. The iron microencapsulation technique produces very stable liposomes with the ability to withstand gastric acidity, allowing the product reach the intestinal tract with no harm. Thus, the occurrence of gastric discomfort due to the pro-oxidant action of free iron found in conventional iron salts is prevented.

Once overcome the gastric barrier, FORTIFERRUM®+ reaches the small intestine where it is completely absorbed by a specific type of epithelial cell called M cells. These cells are part of the immune system (1) and are responsible for initiate the immune response transporting antigens (lipid or protein nature) from the intestinal lumen into other immune cells (2). FORTIFERRUM®+ uptake by M cells is performed by a mechanism called conservative cell endocytosis. This mechanism allows absorbing the contents of the liposome without alterations to be subsequently released into the lymphatic system (3). This differential mechanism of liposomal iron absorption leads it directly to the liver giving high bioavailability. The conventional iron ingested in the diet or other iron salts not liposomal are much less efficient and its absorption is performed by mechanisms related to the enterocytes. For this reason the liposomes of FORTIFERRUM®+ don’t produce the typical side effects caused by treatment with other iron supplements, because it’s completely and directly absorbed in the intestine.

Figure 1: FORTIFERRUM®+ absorbing mechanism in the M cells of the intestine by endocytosis. Liposomes are completely transported by the lymphatic system to the liver, where the ferric pyrophosphate is released by degradation of the liposome.


It was performed a comparative study of the absorption and bioavailability of FORTIFERRUM®+ liposomal iron with other iron salts contained in other products marketed. The study showed that both absorption and bioavailability of ferric pyrophosphate of FORTIFERRUM®+ are notoriously higher than those presented by other iron compounds used in the comparison.

It was proved that FORTIFERRUM®+ absorption is between 2 to 4 times higher than for the other salts as free ferric pyrophosphate, ferrous sulfate or iron gluconate which confirms the stability and effectiveness of FORTIFERRUM®+ liposomal iron.

Vitamin C

To improve its effectiveness and compensate iron deficiencies in an optimal way, FORTIFERRUM®+ formula contains also vitamin C which is the most potent iron absorption enhancer. Vitamin C has the ability to reduce the iron in order to prevent the reaction with other compounds forming insoluble salts whose absorption is greatly reduced.

The significant increase in iron bioavailability caused by vitamin C is maintained even in the presence of inhibitors such as phytates, tannins or calcium and also in the presence of the characteristic alkaline pH of the intestine where the absorption of iron takes place. Vitamin C contained in FORTIFERRUM®+ not only enhances the absorption of liposomal iron, but also enhances the absorption of iron ingested with the diet. Moreover, vitamin C has other beneficial properties that improve the hematologic status since it facilitates the mobilization of iron deposits and active enzymes capable of converting folate to its active form protecting erythrocytes against oxidative damage.