This is commonly referred to as anemia and can be caused by several factors including heavy menstrual periods, pregnancy, or kidney disease.
There are different choices available when it comes to types of iron supplements. Categories: Dietary Supplements Claudia Carberry, R. Registered Dietitian This version of How to Choose an Iron Supplement was reviewed by Claudia Carberry, R.
Create an account Community Dashboard Random Article About Us Categories Recent Changes Write an Article Request a New Article Answer a Request More Ideas. Expert Reviewed wiki How to Choose an Iron Supplement. Iron is a fundamental element that helps blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. Look out for symptoms of anemia. Anemia means a low level of red cells in your body and is a sign of iron deficiency.
This can be quite common and due to several factors. Slow immune response to infections. Get a blood test. The level of hemoglobin signals the amount of red cells in your blood and is used to determine whether you have an iron deficiency. Women with heavy menstrual bleeding. Infants and young children. People with digestive issues. Discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking iron supplements.
They will help you determine whether iron supplementation is advisable for you and in what quantity, based on your gender, age and existing conditions. Kidney or liver disease.
How to Choose an Iron Supplement: 15 Steps (with Pictures)
Other forms of anemia. Check how much iron you need. Dosage depends on age, gender, existing conditions and dietary intake. Children will need different amounts depending on their age and sex. Check the recommendations of the Food and Nutrition Board to determine how much iron your children should get each day: www.politics-science-technology.org.
It is not recommended to take large amounts of iron for longer than six months, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Familiarize with different forms of iron supplements.
Iron can be taken in forms such as tablets, capsules or liquid. You may also choose a slow-release form of iron: these are taken once a day and provide a steady release of iron into the body.
Most iron supplements are sold without a prescription, with the exception of infant drops or specialty supplements. Your doctor will help you determine the daily dosage you need and recommend the best form of supplement for you.
Tablets are usually the best absorbed and less expensive option. Liquid forms are usually preferable for young children. Slow-release supplements lead to fewer side effects but are also absorbed in minor quantities.
When choosing a supplement, consider other factors like personal preferences you might have difficulty swallowing non-chewable tablets and side effects. For example, liquid supplements tend to stain your teeth. Other forms of iron supplements include powder, suspension, liquid-filled capsules, syrup and elixir. Choose a multivitamin supplement containing iron. Most children and adult multivitamins contain the recommended daily dosage of iron.
If your deficiency is not severe, you might simply increase your daily intake in this form. Read the label to check the amount of iron contained in the multivitamin supplement and see if it corresponds to the dosage recommended by your doctor. Check the level of elemental iron in the supplement. When reading the label, be aware that the iron content may appear under these three names: ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate.
Regardless of the quantity of any of these contents, the exact amount of iron is signaled by the level of elemental iron. The amount of elemental iron is not necessarily linked to the amount of iron supplement. When choosing which supplement to use, you might want to try gluconate if you’re afraid fumarate might be too much for you, or fumarate if your aim is to get as much iron as possible out of supplementation.
Ask your physician whether you need iron injections. This is recommendable only if you can’t take iron in any other form. Iron can be injected only by a doctor or nurse. Do not take other forms of supplements if you are getting injections. Consider following an iron-rich diet. Your doctor might recommend you to simply change your diet to include more foods with a high iron content.
If your anemia is simply due to eating iron in poor quantities, you should reconsider your diet before taking over-the-counter iron supplements. Be aware that some foods will contain heme irons easily absorbed by your bloodwhile others will provide nonheme iron less easily absorbed. Meat: liver, lean-ground beef, pork, turkey leg, lamb leg large quantities of heme iron. Fish: sardines, oysters, tuna, shrimp smaller quantities of heme iron.
Brown rice nonheme iron. Kidney beans, peas or lentils nonheme iron. Cereal: Iron-fortified cereal, whole wheat bread, oatmeal nonheme iron.
Peanut butter nonheme iron. Take the iron supplement. It is best to take the iron supplement on an empty stomach to facilitate absorption, either with water or fruit juice. This means one or two hours before meals. If taking iron on an empty stomach makes you sick, you should take it right after meals, although this will make it harder for your body to absorb it. Increase your intake of vitamin C. Eating foods with a high vitamin C contentlike citrus fruit, will help your body absorb more iron.
Thus, this is recommended both if you’re following an iron-rich diet or taking supplements. Oranges and orange juice. Red and green peppers. Broccoli and brussels sprouts. Carefully time eating foods that will hinder iron absorption. Combining iron supplements with some foods will make it harder for your body to absorb it.
The following foods or supplements should be consumed no more than two hours after taking an iron supplement if you want to maximize your iron intake:. Caffeinated drinks and food coffee, black tea, chocolate. Consider the side effects of taking iron supplements. Ask your physician about possible uncomfortable reactions you might have to an increased iron absorption. They might advise you to reduce your daily dosage if these symptoms become too much for you to take.
Stained teeth if so, brush with baking soda or medicinal peroxide. Pay attention to symptoms of iron poisoning. Taking too much iron can cause many undesirable effects. If side effects become severe, you have one or more of these symptoms and you think they might be due to iron overdosage, contact your doctor and consider reducing your dosage or switching to other supplements.
Diarrhea maybe with blood. Nausea and sharp stomach pain. Severe vomiting maybe with blood. Blue lips, fingernails and palms of hands. Your doctor will probably advise you to return after a few weeks to check how your body is responding to supplementation. Blood tests will monitor your hemoglobin levels and determine for how long you should continue the treatment. Checking your stools is an effective way to see whether your body is absorbing the iron supplements.
These should be black. Why has my doctor advised me against taking slow-release capsules? Slow-release capsules, as the word suggests, release iron more slowly into your body. If your aim is to get the most out of supplementation, a faster release is usually better. However, this might cause some undesired side effects in some people, such as nausea or constipation.
In that case, a slow-release capsule is the best option. Is there a difference between slow-release ferrous sulphate and slow-release ferrous fumarate? Ferrous fumarate contains more elemental iron than sulphate ca.
If this question or a similar one is answered twice in this section, please click here to let us know. Taking your iron tablet with vitamin C can help alleviate stomach issues. Slow-release supplements may help decrease side effects such as upset stomach.
If you think your baby might be iron-deficient, ask your pediatrician whether it would be a good idea to give him or her supplements. Breastfeeding usually provides your baby with all the iron he or she needs. However, after six months make sure you introduce food besides your own milk that has a high iron content. Iron can be toxic if taken in high doses. Aim for the Recommended Dietary Allowance RDAand do not exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level UL.
This version of How to Choose an Iron Supplement was reviewed by Claudia Carberry, R. All text shared under a Creative Commons License. Start your very own article today.