Ferrous gluconate

Ferrous gluconate is an iron supplement used to treat iron deficiency anemia or prevent low levels of iron in the blood. The latter reason is often a result of pregnancy. Iron is a critical component in delivering oxygen to various bodily tissues, muscles, and organs. Ferrous (iron) gluconate is the product of iron salt from gluconic acid.

Why Does the Blood Need Iron?
Normally, iron is taken in the body through the foods we eat, such as red meats, beans, liver, iron-fortified whole grains and cereals, tofu, some vegetables, chicken, nuts and dried fruits. Without iron, oxygen delivery in the blood would be insufficient because iron helps in the formation of hemoglobin. Transportation of oxygen is dependent on new red blood cells that contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen to the body’s cells, tissues and organs; iron is also a part of myoglobin, which helps muscles store oxygen. Consequently, oxygen and iron have a strong attraction to each other, causing the scarlet red color of iron-rich blood, and the dark red color of oxygen-poor blood. System failure would result if the body does not receive adequate amounts of iron. If enough iron is not taken in through the diet, it is imperative to receive an iron supplement. Often times, if a person truly has iron-deficiency anemia, an over-the-counter supplement will not suffice, and a prescription of iron (a.k.a. ferrous gluconate) needs to be prescribed by a doctor.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia are easy to pinpoint. Additionally, an easy finger-prick blood test can be done to confirm the assumption. Common symptoms include extreme fatigue, tiredness, shortness of breath, depression, pale skin, irritability, dizziness, weakness, and decreased appetite. Not all of these are always experienced in an individual, especially if the anemia is mild.

Dosage and Proper Consumption of Ferrous Gluconate
Always take the iron supplement as directed by the doctor, and follow all directions on the bottle or package. It is best taken on an empty stomach, either 1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after a meal. Take the iron with a full glass of water; if upset stomach occurs, take it with a few crackers or a small meal. Certain items will decrease the iron’s effectiveness, such as antacids, tea, dairy products, and coffee, so avoid consuming these within 2 hours before or after taking the medication. Always swallow the tablet whole, unless otherwise directed by a doctor. If it is the chewable form, chew it thoroughly before swallowing. The liquid form of this medication requires thorough measuring. Also don’t lie down 30 minutes after taking this pill.

Do Not Use Ferrous Gluconate If…

  • You are allergic to any medications or drugs.
  • You have iron overload syndrome.
  • You have other types of anemia.
  • You have kidney or liver disease.
  • You’re an alcoholic.
  • You receive regular blood transfusions.
  • You are pregnant.

In any case, a consultation with a doctor is the only option in taking ferrous gluconate as an iron supplement. Because overdose can be harmful, seek medical attention if you think you have taken too much of this medication. Also, keep out of reach of children under the age of 6 because if ingested, the medicine can be lethal to them.

Drug and Food Interactions
Sometimes, when two or more drugs are taken at the same time, one drug can be increased or decreased in its effectiveness. This is the case with some medicines in combination with iron supplements.

  • Consult with your doctor before taking any other vitamin or mineral supplements if you’re already taking an iron supplement.
  • Certain drugs can have interactions: antacids, thyroid hormones, penicillamine, levadopa, methyldopa, doxycycline, and quinolone antibiotics. Contact your doctor for a full list of drug interactions.
  • Some foods can make it harder for the body to absorb the iron from ferrous gluconate. These include dairy products, teas, and coffee.

Side Effects

Sometimes side effects can occur in people taking an iron supplement such as ferrous gluconate. The scale of seriousness ranges from very minimal to very serious.

  • The very minimal side effects include: constipation or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, upset stomach, dark-colored stools or urine, or temporary teeth staining.
  • The very serious side effects include: hives, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, bright red blood in stools, or pain in your chest or throat when swallowing the pill.

If the side effects become serious, seek medical attention or call your doctor.

Last updated on Jan 20th, 2011 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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