Iron supplements are a popular way to get more iron into your diet. Iron is an essential mineral that helps make red blood cells, but you can’t fulfill its need just by eating food. Adding iron supplements for adults, kids, and older people is vital to stay active all day long.
What are Iron Supplements?
Iron supplements are a type of iron formulation which comes in tablets or liquid form to treat iron deficiency. They contain the same active ingredient but may be easier to swallow than a tablet.
Types of Iron Supplements
These supplements come in several forms, such as chewable iron supplements for women and adults, liquid iron supplements for kids, adults, and elders, gummies, tablets, capsules, etc.
Iron is found in lean meats, shellfish, dried fruits, and beans. Iron from food sources can also be absorbed through the lining of your stomach, intestines, and colon. The most common forms of dietary iron are meat, poultry (meat), eggs, legumes (lentils), and dried fruits (raisins).
Many people don’t consume enough iron from their diets to meet their needs for this mineral because many foods contain little or no iron. To keep up with your body’s needs for iron, you should eat a varied diet that includes at least 2 servings of meat or meat alternatives each day. To increase your intake of this vital nutrient, consider adding fortified foods like cereals or bread that contain added vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), etc.
Should Adults Take Iron Supplements?
If you have a health condition that prevents you from absorbing dietary iron, taking an iron supplement could help your body absorb enough iron from food sources to replace what you lose from your body’s use.
How to Know If You are Low on Iron
If you are experiencing any of the below-listed symptoms, it is good to test your iron level and take precautions to live a healthy life.
- Brittle nails
- Chest pain
- Cold hands and feet
- Extreme fatigue
- Fast heartbeat
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Soreness of your tongue
Is it safe to take iron supplements?
To determine whether it’s safe to take an iron supplement, talk with your doctor about any health concerns or other medications that might interact with iron supplements.
Also, discuss the pros and cons of taking an oral supplement versus a liquid or tablet form of the iron supplement — this will help determine which would be best for your situation.
What is the Recommended Dosage for Iron Supplements?
Refer to the below-listed proportion of taking iron supplements daily according to different age groups:
7-12 months – 11 mg/day
1-3 years – 7 mg/day
4-8 years – 10 mg/day
9-13 years – 8 mg/day
14-18 years – 15 mg/day
19-50 years – 18 mg/day
51 years and over – 8 mg/day
Pregnant – 27 mg/day
Breastfeeding – Under 19 years: 10 mg/day, 19 years and over: 9 mg/day
14-18 years – 11 mg/day
19 years and up – 8 mg/day
Why Do People Take Iron Supplements for Anemia?
People take iron supplements to treat several health conditions, such as:
Anemia is a condition characterized by a decreased number of red blood cells. This causes fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. Anemia can be caused by many factors, including blood loss due to trauma or surgery, inadequate dietary intake of iron-containing foods, or low iron stores in the body. To fulfill the required amount of iron in the body, an individual should take iron supplements.
People who suffer from anemia often have other conditions, such as fatigue caused by poor circulation or inflammation. Anemia can also lead to hair loss if it goes untreated for long periods of time.
The best way to treat anemia is through diet and lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if you’re overweight or drinking more water if you’re dehydrated.
There are several other health conditions that require the proper amount of Iron, such as chronic conditions, cancer, etc.
Treat Chronic Conditions
Iron deficiency can occur in people with certain chronic conditions or medication use. If you have one of these conditions, your doctor may recommend taking an iron supplement. Pregnant women are also at risk for developing iron deficiency due to increased needs during pregnancy and lactation. Women who breastfeed should ensure they get enough iron from food sources.
Iron deficiency during pregnancy can lead to microcytic anemia in newborns if not treated. In some cases, pregnant women may need higher doses of iron supplementation during pregnancy than non-pregnant women because they have higher requirements for iron during pregnancy.
When you start taking iron supplements, your child might notice that they feel more vital and alert than usual. This is because iron helps make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the bloodstream, and helps form myoglobin, which helps store muscle energy. Taking iron supplements can help children develop better muscle strength, coordination, and endurance.
Blood Loss from Menstruation
Menstruating women lose about 40% of their total blood volume each month during their period. This means that women who menstruate may need more iron supplements than others because they lose so much blood at once during their period. Menstruating women may also need to take iron supplements as a preventative measure against iron deficiency anemia.
Possible Side Effects
Taking iron supplements can cause side effects that affect your health, such as stomach upset, constipation, and nausea. People taking large amounts of iron supplements may have increased blood levels, which could harm organs like the heart or kidneys (liver).
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should avoid taking iron supplements without first consulting their doctor because several health conditions may vary from patient to patient, leading to a miscarriage or preterm delivery.
Iron is an essential mineral that can affect your overall health, so ensure that you have enough iron in your diet or through several chewable iron supplements or other available forms.