Iron supplements

Iron is one of the most talked about and controversial supplements, largely in part to the fact that too little can result in severe medical conditions while too much can cause a dangerous toxicity problem. For the most part, Iron levels in humans are easy to maintain because it is such an abundant resource. However, in some cases people either don’t get enough iron in their diet or simply have a lifestyle that causes poor iron absorption.

You’ve probably heard of anemia as a result of iron deficiency, but do you know much about how anemia works? First, it is important to note that iron is stored in hemoglobin and is responsible for helping to carry oxygen to your body’s vital tissue. A lack of iron can cause your body to be starved for oxygen, which is what medical experts call “iron deficiency anemia.” Although your body keeps a large reservoir of iron in the blood, if your diet is not sufficient in iron to resupply what is used, then you end up depleting your reserves and running out of iron in your red blood cells.

Anemia can cause a feeling of constant fatigue, light headedness, and mental fatigue. People at high risk of anemic conditions are pregnant women, who lose iron when feeding a growing child in the womb, people with kidney failure, menstruating women, and young children.

Since diet plays such a large part in iron deficiency, anemia is very easy to overcome without the need for iron supplements. However, it can take a long time for your iron store to rebuild to normal levels. This is one of the reasons that taking a daily iron supplement is beneficial. Iron is mainly found in red meats and leafy green vegetables, but those that don’t eat diets high in these food sources could also benefit from adding iron supplements to their regimen.

Another benefit to iron supplementation is the fact that it can take up to 30 days to recover from an iron deficiency. Eating a diet high in iron consistently over the time can be difficult, whereas taking a single pill once per day makes it much easier. Also, you are far better off preventing anemia than you are treating it, which means if you fall into one of the categories at risk, then you should not even think twice about it.

Most people assume that daily multivitamins contain enough iron for your daily recommended dose, which is around 8-27 mg per day (pregnant women fall at the high end), but the fact is that most multivitamins contain very little, if any, amount of iron. Also, even those that do contain enough iron are usually difficult to digest alone.

Diets high in tea and soy can also cause a decrease in iron absorption, so if you are a vegetarian that relies on a soy based diet, you might also have a high risk of becoming anemic. Endurance athletes and bodybuilders also put themselves at high risk due to the amount of blood and oxygen that their bodies require.

Really, considering that iron is such an abundant resource, it is amazing that people fail to find ways to get enough of it. It seems ironic that one of the most abundant minerals is rarely consumed enough. Some studies suggest that up to eight percent of the world’s population suffers from iron deficiency at some point in their life. Don’t let this be you. Buying an iron supplement is as easy as going online and hitting the “add to cart” button. You can also find it at your local pharmacy or grocery store. The question is: are you going to let yourself become a statistic or are you going to take a pro-active stance towards your health?

Last updated on Sep 20th, 2009 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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