If you feel fatigued and deflated, you may be deficient in iron. When you are deficient in this nutrient, it can lead to weakness, dizziness, and physical and mental fatigue. Low iron levels can cause illness or infection.
In most cases of iron deficiency, it is usually possible to correct the deficiency through diet or iron supplements. If your doctor recommends you take an iron supplement, you can choose from a variety of over-the-counter options.
Is it necessary to take iron supplements?
Ideally, everyone would be able to meet their iron needs through diet. For most people, it’s not always as easy as it seems. If you believe your diet does not provide sufficient iron or if you are a member of the following groups, you may need an iron supplement (1).
In women who are childbearing age, menstrual blood loss depletes iron stores. Those who have heavy bleeding are more likely to develop anaemia caused by an iron deficiency.
Pregnant or nursing women: their iron needs nearly double during pregnancy since red blood cells carry oxygen for both mother and child. Due to the additional iron requirement, while breastfeeding, breastfeeding mothers also need to pay more attention to their iron intake.
People on strict diets: By following a calorie-controlled diet, we often fail to obtain adequate amounts of iron.
Athletes: Marathon runners and endurance athletes are more likely to lose iron when sweating. Iron depletion can negatively affect athletic performance, as a physical activity requires more oxygen.
Vegetarians/vegans: The non-heme iron found in plants is more difficult to absorb than the heme iron in meat. A vegetarian’s diet must include a supply of iron-rich foods, so iron supplements may prove helpful. Antacids can reduce iron absorption when used to treat ulcers, heartburn, or reflux.
Blood donors: The body replaces lost red blood cells by producing new ones. This requires iron. When you donate blood frequently, take iron supplements to prevent iron deficiency.
Children: Iron is often needed for a child’s rapid growth.
The Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
People with iron deficiency may exhibit a variety of signs and symptoms that are dependent on their overall health and the severity of the condition. You should consult your doctor for advice on whether iron supplements are needed. Symptoms of iron deficiency include:
- Constant exhaustion
- Dizziness, weakness, and fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Recurring headaches
- Reduced ability to concentrate
- Cold hands and feet
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Painful or swollen tongue
- Craving non-food substances such as ice, dirt, or chalk
- Frequent infections
Iron Supplements Types
Iron supplements come in a variety of forms, and choosing one is not easy. Listed below are some examples of iron supplements that you can choose from to improve your life a little.
Supplements based on iron sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate are most commonly prescribed. Since ferrous iron salts contain high levels of elemental iron and have a good bioavailability, health care professionals consider them the best treatment for anaemia and iron deficiency. As a result of the rapid absorption rate of iron from ferrous sources, iron from ferrous sources can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. A number of ferrous iron supplements also offer lower absorbency rates than the slow-release forms.
Ferrous iron must be converted into a soluble form before ferric iron salts can be utilized. It is generally not a preferred treatment for iron deficiency due to the lesser absorption of ferric iron. Ferric iron, on the other hand, is lightweight and may be suitable for people who have a hard time absorbing ferrous iron or simply want to supplement iron for preventative measures.
The iron in chelated iron is bound to amino acids, and that is not the case with naturally occurring iron. Due to its unique properties, the gastrointestinal tract dissolves this iron, eliminating any possibility of discomfort due to gastrointestinal issues. The iron in chlorinated water is as bioavailable as the iron in ferrous water, but with fewer side effects. In chelated iron supplements, iron bis-glycinate is typically available.
Iron supplements such as carbonyl iron are relatively new; as opposed to using a mixture of iron salts, it consists solely of microparticles of elemental iron. The dissolution of iron in stomach acids is a slow process. In terms of iron deficiency, it is not inherently better than ferrous iron, given its lower risk of gastrointestinal discomfort and diminished risk of iron toxicity.
Heme iron peptides
Even though heme iron peptides are classified as medical food rather than a supplement, they should continue to receive research attention. The heme iron peptides in heme iron supplements harness naturally occurring heme iron from meat sources in order to make sure that the iron is as bioavailable as possible. This iron is considerably more expensive than other options, despite being the least likely to cause stomach upset. The use of iron supplements containing heme is not recommended for vegetarians.
Considerations When Choosing An Iron Supplement
Elemental iron content
Elemental iron is used by the human body. Supplement facts panels, rather than label fronts, are usually the best place to find out the amount of iron a supplement contains. It is more useful to take iron supplements that contain more elemental iron.
The iron in small doses is better absorbed than the iron in higher doses, so it may be tempting to reach for a supplement with high iron content. As a result, your iron intake should be divided into two or three daily dosages. The recommended daily intake of iron for adults with iron deficiency ranges from 150 mg to 300 mg, which is why supplements containing 65 mg are adequate for them.
If you are switching formulas or trying out an iron supplement for the first time, test a smaller amount first. Test out the supplement for a month first to determine if your body can tolerate it.
Pricing For Iron Supplement
Iron supplements differ widely in price depending on their form. Tablets cost between $0.03 and $0.94 each. Compared to iron supplements containing ferrous iron, heme iron supplements cost as much as $0.94 per tablet. Chelated iron supplements typically cost between $0.09 and $0.16 per tablet.
In general, supplementing with iron with adequate bioavailability and iron concentration should alleviate the iron deficiency. If you’re not very sensitive to iron or if your physician has recommended them, there is no need to pay a lot for iron supplements.
Tips For Consuming Iron Supplements
- Taking iron with a snack can reduce side effects.
- Taking vitamin C supplements or drinking orange juice will boost your iron absorption.
- If you are taking iron supplements, stay away from tea and coffee as their tannins can interfere with absorption.
- If you are taking an iron supplement with milk, calcium, or antacids, wait at least two hours before taking them. Exposure to these substances can prevent the body from absorbing iron.
Frequently Asked Questions About Iron Supplements
What are the signs of iron deficiency?
If you suspect you have iron deficiency symptoms, you should consult a doctor for a diagnosis. In most cases, your doctor will run certain tests. Depending on the cause and severity of your iron deficiency, your physician can determine the best treatment method and dosage.
How much iron is too much?
The right amount of iron is important for health because too much iron is dangerous, as well as too little. Taking an excessive amount of iron over a long period of time can cause toxaemia in your body. Absorption of iron is self-regulatory. Therefore, it is imperative that you consult a physician to determine the proper dosage before starting an iron supplement regimen.
I forgot to take a dose, what should I do?
When forgetting to take a dose, don’t double it. Try to skip the missed dose by an hour or two the next time you are due to take it.
Take a look at these popular supplement brands for full-body wellness and weight loss:
- Resurge: According to the official website, Resurge’s formula is designed to help users recover from shallow sleep syndrome and improve the process of metabolic regeneration that occurs during sleep.
- BioFit: This supplement contains probiotics selected for their ability to support digestion and bowel movement.
- Okinawa Flat Belly Tonic: This supplement supports a flat stomach and weight loss by optimizing metabolism and digestion.
- Java Burn: A single-serve pack of Java Burn, according to its creator John Barban, can improve your energy levels and help you burn fat.