Nowadays, nutrition facts have become available for everyone, and it is pretty unlikely to have nutrient deficiency problems in most countries. Nowadays, the problem is overnutrition and an imbalance in the nutrients we eat. However, there are still a few nutrient deficiency problems around, and we can highlight vitamin D in northern latitudes, vitamin B in vegans, and iron in pregnant women, menstruating women, and older adults.
Iron deficiency is relatively common, and some patients are at a higher risk than others. However, it’s easily treatable and can be easily prevented. Treating iron deficiency can be done with iron-rich foods and supplements. Preventing this condition is usually done with food, but sometimes doctors prescribe supplements, too, especially for pregnant women.
In previous articles, we talked about the basics of iron deficiency and what you should know about risk factors and types of iron available in foods. We have also introduced the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency, which are mainly the same as iron deficiency anemia. In this article, you will find information about iron supplements and how to choose the best iron supplement. Keep reading to learn more!
Do you really need an iron supplement?
One of the first important aspects to consider if you’re interested in iron supplements is whether you really need them or not. Unlike your typical multivitamins, omega-3, and antioxidant supplements, which can be used freely even if you’re healthy, iron supplements are not meant to be used for everybody.
If you receive an overload of iron or consume more than you should, this mineral can be toxic to your liver and cause severe consequences. So, if you’re trying to prevent iron deficiency anemia but have never had this condition before, you will probably need to increase the consumption of iron-rich foods and leave iron supplements for patients with anemia, pregnant women, and those with considerable risk factors.
If you still don’t know whether you need iron supplements or not, it would be a very good idea to talk to your doctor about it. After running a few tests, they will tell you if you should use one of these or would be better off consuming certain foods.
The most common indication of iron supplements is iron deficiency anemia or having a risk for iron deficiency anemia.
Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough iron in the circulating red blood cells. Such a lack of iron causes low levels of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that allows the blood cells to transport oxygen, and it is made up of iron because it is what binds to oxygen and carbon dioxide. Blood is red because it is the color iron adopts when it binds oxygen. It is the color of iron oxide and rust.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include pale skin, fatigue, shortness of breath, and headache. Anemia can also cause permanent damage to organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and spleen, or affect brain health, causing memory problems, poor concentration, and difficulty making decisions.