Iron is essential to many proteins and enzymes your body uses to maintain good health. It is also necessary for the delivery of oxygen to your cells and the regulation of cell growth. For these reasons, iron supplements should be taken when diet alone does not restore iron to sufficient levels.
Iron supplements come in two forms: ferrous and ferric. Ferrous iron is preferred because it is better absorbed by the body. The quantity of iron absorbed by your body decreases with greater doses, so it’s better to take your supplements in two or three doses spread throughout the day.
Someone who is iron deficient may develop anemia and demonstrate fatigue and decreased immunity. Supplements are particularly important if an individual is displaying symptoms of anemia. If tests indicate that a woman’s level of serum ferritin – a protein that stores iron – is less than or equal to 15 micrograms per liter and she has a low red blood cell count, then she is anemic due to iron deficiency and needs iron supplements.
To treat iron deficiency anemia, it is recommended that adult women take 50 to 60 milligrams of oral elemental iron daily for 3 months. However, you should check with your doctor before taking any supplement. Iron supplements may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dark-colored stools, and abdominal cramps.
Adult men and postmenopausal women should be careful about taking iron supplements, because iron deficiency is uncommon is these groups and they are at greater risk of iron overload, a condition in which too much iron collects in the blood and organs. This can potentially cause liver and heart problems, and even death in people with a genetic predisposition to hemochromatosis, a disease in which iron builds up in the body and causes damage to the internal organs. Additionally, people with blood disorders that necessitate frequent blood transfusions should not take iron supplements.
1. Iron deficiency is the most prominent nutritional disorder globally. Eighty percent of the world population may be iron deficient, and 30 percent may have iron deficiency anemia.
2. Pregnant women need approximately double the iron intake of women who are not pregnant. This is because of greater blood volume during pregnancy, the additional needs of the fetus, and blood loss that occurs during delivery.