I don't see any reference to liver problems causing poor iron absorption - rather it seems that low iron causes liver problems. It is possible that there is a connection because the liver produces transferrin which is the agent that transfers non-heme iron from the gut. Possibly liver malfunction could impact transferrin production, but I have not found any reference to this. Consider this extract (from Medscape
Iron uptake in the proximal small bowel occurs by 3 separate pathways (see Image 8). These are the heme pathway and separate pathways for ferric and ferrous iron.
In North America and Europe, one third of dietary iron is heme iron, but two thirds of body iron is derived from dietary myoglobin and hemoglobin. Heme iron is not chelated and precipitated by numerous constituents of the diet that renders nonheme iron nonabsorbable (see Image 4). Examples are phytates, phosphates, tannates, oxalates, and carbonates. Heme is maintained soluble and available for absorption by globin degradation products produced by pancreatic enzymes. Heme iron and nonheme iron are absorbed into the enterocyte noncompetitively.
The first thing that this suggests to me is the hazard that you may be getting excess carbonate from a calcium supplement or antacids. The other possibility is a low gastric acid level, either from inflammation or from using proton pump inhibitors or antacids for reflux problems. This prevents the breakdown of non-heme iron sources for subsequent absorption.
One caution - I found an article that suggested that high levels of iron in the gut tissue can promote bacterial infection, so there are trade-offs to iron supplements.
There are some reports of enhanced iron absorption due to Lactobacillus plantarum (Lp299v strain) which is a commercial food additive from Europe made by Probi . See: Iconoclast
2/3 of the way down the page. For more, see http://www.lp299v.co.uk/research
Post Edited (Keeper) : 4/5/2009 9:42:06 PM (GMT-6)