Collection: Iron Supplements

Our body needs iron to produce hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying protein within RBC ) and myoglobin (muscle protein). Diet is the best way to fulfill iron requirements but those who do not eat enough iron-rich food and have medical conditions that interfere with iron absorption are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. Low iron levels affect the body in many ways and hence iron deficiency anemia is treated with iron supplements

Iron deficiency and health benefits of Iron supplements 

  • To maintain healthy iron levels in certain health conditions

Insufficient dietary intake, children, teenagers, blood donors, and people with digestive issues have iron deficiency. Doctors recommend supplements to correct and maintain healthy iron levels.

  • To correct iron deficiency in women 

Women are often at risk of iron deficiency due to heavy menstruation. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia develop slowly. If untreated, one may experience tiredness, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, difficulty in concentration, etc. To treat the deficiency iron supplements are used. 

  • Iron supplements in pregnancy

Iron demand increases in pregnancy. Gynecologists may recommend supplements to fulfill the increased requirements.

  • Iron deficiency in children

Poor diet, digestive conditions, infections, etc cause iron deficiency in children. They also need adequate iron for proper growth and development. To manage iron levels in children, supplements are used. Liquid form and iron gummies are available for children.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Is it okay to take an iron supplement every day?

It is recommended to get your blood tested for iron levels. Based on the test results, the doctor may recommend iron supplements if you have an iron deficiency for some weeks/months till hemoglobin and iron levels get normal. 

2) What are the reasons that you need iron supplements?

You may need iron supplements for the following conditions:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Pregnancy

  • Digestive diseases

  • Conditions causing impaired iron absorption like celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, etc.

  • After weight loss surgery

3) How do you take iron supplements for the best absorption?

  • Take supplements in the morning away from the meals.

  • Prefer taking it with orange juice to maximize absorption.

  • Ferrous iron supplements are best for absorption.

  • Never take iron and calcium supplements together, maintain a time gap between the two.

  • Some people avoid taking iron supplements empty stomach due to digestive issues. In this case, avoid taking foods with iron supplements that interfere with its absorption like eggs and dairy products.

  • Avoid taking iron supplements with coffee and tea.

  • If you are already taking other medications, tell your doctor.

4) When to take iron supplements?

Iron supplements are taken empty stomach, meaning,1-2 hours after the last meal you had. Always remember to drink plenty of water when taking these supplements. 

5) How long does it take for iron supplements to work?

These start working in 3-4 weeks. Some people may begin to feel better in 1 week. However, it may take up to 3 months for hemoglobin and ferritin values to come in the normal range. At this time, blood investigations are recommended.

6) Is it okay for women with normal iron levels to take a daily iron supplement?

If a woman has normal iron levels, then it is not advisable to take iron supplements because taking more iron than your body requires causes health issues. If a woman is already taking multivitamins, then it also contains some amount of iron.

7) Iron supplements for women, how many mg of iron does a woman need?

According to NIH, females aged 19-50 years need 18 mg of iron daily. In pregnancy, the requirements increase to 27 mg. The doctor determines the dosage and duration of taking iron supplements depending on the requirement and the severity of anemia. 

8) Iron supplements for anemia, how much iron to take for anemia?

Based on the blood investigations, supplement dosage is decided by the doctor. The dose may be above RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) to treat iron deficiency. Iron supplements for anemia are given for a fixed period. Once the deficiency is corrected, the doctor advises maintaining healthy iron levels with a healthy diet. Hence these supplements are not taken daily. If your dietary intake is poor and have an underlying medical condition that interferes with iron absorption, it is advisable to get blood tests done every 3-6 months or as recommended and take a doctor consultation. 

9) What are the symptoms of low iron in a child?

Symptoms of low iron levels in children are:

  • Tiredness

  • Lack of energy

  • Irritability, short-tempered

  • Pale skin

  • Brittle nails

  • Headache

  • Dizziness 

  • Loss of appetite

  • Slow growth and development

  • Craving for non-nutritious items like ice, dirt (pica)

  • Hands and feet are cold

  • Shortness of breath while engaging in any physical activity

  • Rapid heartbeat

10) Iron supplements for kids, how to treat iron deficiency in children?

  • To treat iron deficiency, multivitamins are not used because they do not contain sufficient doses of iron that can correct anemia.

  • Doctors recommend iron supplements available in liquid, tablet, or other forms depending on the age.

  • If you are giving liquid preparation to your child, it can be given through straw to prevent teeth discoloration.

  • Ferrous sulfate spansules are sprinkled over the food.

  • Iron poly-maltose mixture is given to those children who cannot tolerate other iron preparations.

  • Tablets are suitable for older children.

  • Iron gummies are also available for children.

  • Some supplements contain vitamin C and iron like Iron-C by Pure Encapsulations.

  • Prefer vitamin C-rich food like strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, etc.

  • Limit milk intake.

  • Give an iron-rich diet to your child. This is because supplements are given for some time till anemia is corrected. After this, it is important to give iron-rich food to prevent anemia.

  • Regular follow-up with the doctor.

Iron supplements may be taken for a minimum of 3 months to replenish iron stores. Blood investigations are performed to check iron and ferritin status. 

11) Do iron supplements work for general tiredness?

If you have tiredness due to iron deficiency anemia, then iron supplements may help treat this symptom by replenishing the iron levels. Another example, is low-dose iron supplements are considered beneficial for non-anemic endurance athletes because they improve fatigue.

12) Which is the best iron supplement for a person with anemia?

 The best iron supplement is one with the following features:

  • High quality

  • Recommended by doctor.

  • Contains the dosage your body needs. 

  • Contains ferrous sulfate or iron in other absorbable forms.

  • Formulations are available separately for men and women depending on their needs.