Who Should Take Iron Supplements?

Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a common condition that can be caused by a lack of dietary iron or an increased need for iron. To address this, daily iron supplementation is recommended as a public health intervention for school-age children aged 60 months or older who live in environments where anaemia is present. The usual dose of oral iron supplements is up to 150 to 200 mg of elemental iron per day, while people at high risk of IDA may be prescribed 60 to 100 mg a day. Blood levels should be regularly checked and supplements should be stopped or taken at lower doses if levels return to normal, as long-term high doses can cause constipation or other digestive disorders. Iron supplements can help reverse low iron levels or treat iron deficiency anemia.

They can produce results faster than dietary interventions and are often considered the treatment method of choice. Iron is also part of myoglobin, a protein that specifically transports and stores oxygen in muscle tissues. People who take these and other medications on a regular basis should discuss their iron status with their healthcare providers. Heme iron in meat is more bioavailable than non-heme iron from plant-based foods, and meat, poultry, and seafood increase the absorption of non-heme iron. Getting your iron levels tested regularly can be a great way to identify and treat low iron levels before they can turn into IDA.

With erythropoiesis due to iron deficiency (also known as marginal iron deficiency), iron stores are exhausted and transferrin saturation decreases, but hemoglobin levels are usually within the normal range. Iron deficiency anemia can also occur if the diet does not contain enough iron or if the body's need for iron increases (for example, during pregnancy). Non-heme iron is also found in animal meat (since animals consume plant foods with non-heme iron) and in fortified foods. Because iron deficiency is often accompanied by deficiencies of other nutrients, the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency can be difficult to isolate. Any confusion with the types and amounts of iron supplements can be resolved by asking the doctor to specify both the elemental quantity and the amount of the chemical compound. Iron is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, is added to some food products and is available as a dietary supplement. As a result, iron homeostasis is disturbed and iron is diverted from circulation to storage sites, limiting the amount of iron available for erythropoiesis.

A complementary approach is to consider how your dietary iron intake and supplements compare to your recommended iron intake. If this is not resolved, the next stage is a further depletion of iron stores and a decrease in red blood cells. Unlike other iron absorption inhibitors, calcium may reduce the bioavailability of both non-heme and heme iron. In addition, the average birth weight was 31 g higher in babies whose mothers took iron supplements daily during pregnancy compared to babies born to mothers who did not take them. Iron is a nutrient that plays many important roles in the body, such as keeping you healthy and full of energy.

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