The Benefits of Using Iron Supplements & How Much Iron You Should Have

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Why Iron is Important

The body uses iron to produce red blood cells. When the body isn’t getting enough iron, it can cause anemia. This results in decreased energy, shortness of breath and may contribute to learning difficulties. Iron deficiency may also be linked to stomach ulcers. Plus, women who are anemic may have increased menstrual symptoms and have troubles conceiving.

Benefits of Iron Supplements

There are many benefits to taking an iron supplement, including increased energy and improved performance during physical activities. Getting enough iron may also reduce the frequency of insomnia. Children may report having an easier time with learning because anemia can cause learning issues. Those who don’t consume meat may also benefit from vegetarian iron supplements.

Iron Requirements

When taking an iron supplement, it’s important to get enough – without getting too much. Children from birth to age 3 should be getting 6-10mg, ages 4-10 should get 10mg, ages 9-13 need 8mg each day. When males reach 14-18 years, they require 11 mg and females require 15 mg.

Iron Supplement Side Effects

When starting an iron supplement, you may experience side-effects until your body becomes acclimated. Symptoms may include constipation, diarrhea or heartburn. Some individuals also report feeling nauseated. When taking iron supplements, make sure to not take them at the same time as a calcium supplement. Taking foliate with your iron supplement will provide maximum benefits.

Foods Rich in Iron

Another approach to iron supplementation is eating whole foods that are high in iron. Incorporate foods such as oatmeal, bran, sesame seeds, apricots, almonds and kidney beans into your daily diet. Also, consider eating boiled lentils, dried figs, wheat germ and adding rosemary to your meals.

Discuss Iron Supplements with your Doctor

Before taking an iron supplement, discuss it with your doctor. She should test you for anemia and determine if you are iron deficient. Taking an iron supplement isn’t for individuals who get enough iron in their daily diet. This is because consuming too much iron may cause accelerated aging, increased risk of heart disease and infection.