Iron is an essential mineral for life. Iron plays a key role in making red blood cells that carry oxygen. You can get iron from food and supplements. If you don’t have enough iron, you may develop anemia, a low level of red blood cells. In this article, we’ll be discussing which supplements you should consider for additional Iron.
Iron supplements are most commonly used for certain types of anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue and other symptoms. People who may be at risk for iron deficiency include premature babies, young children, teenage girls, and pregnant women, as well as people with certain health conditions, including chronic heart failure, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis. Iron supplements are often recommended for pregnant women or women of childbearing age to help prevent anemia. Seek treatment from your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of anemia.
Iron supplements are also often used to treat anemia caused by:
- Kidney disease
- Heavy menstrual flow
Side effects and risks of taking iron supplements
- Do not start taking iron supplements unless your doctor tells you you need an iron supplement. This is important especially if you have a chronic health condition.
- Women planning pregnancy should also consult their healthcare provider before starting daily iron supplementation.
- Iron can interact with many different medications and supplements. They include antacids and proton pump inhibitors, some antibiotics, calcium, and more. If they recommend that you take iron supplements, make sure your doctor understands all prescription and over-the-counter medicines you are taking.
- Taking iron supplements at normal doses may cause stomach upset, stool changes, and constipation.
- Iron overdose is a common cause of poisoning in children, this can be fatal. Signs of iron overdose include severe vomiting and diarrhea, stomach cramps, pale or blue skin and nails, and weakness.
How to choose an iron supplement?
- Find a supplement that contains effective doses of iron. Some supplements contain an organic fruit and vegetable blend, as well as a probiotic and enzyme blend to support proper digestion.
- Manufactured in a facility that complies with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) established by the FDA.
- Manufactured by companies that provide objective measures of confidence, such as third-party labs verifying their supplements.
- Choose a supplement that contains easily absorbed iron.
- Complies with permissible health claims and labeling requirements in accordance with Food and Drug Administration(FDA) regulations.
- Manufactured by a healthcare company that meets ethical, legal, and industry best standards.
There are many causes of iron deficiency, including insufficient iron intake, pregnancy, blood loss during menstruation, and problems with iron absorption. While some people may notice symptoms such as low energy levels and shortness of breath, many people don’t realize they have anemia until they are diagnosed after routine blood tests. These groups typically include infants and children, athletes, people with menorrhagia, people who are pregnant, people with gastrointestinal diseases or cancer, and people who donate blood regularly. Depending on the severity of your iron deficiency, a healthcare professional may recommend that you take oral iron supplements.