Talk With Your Doctor
If you think youre showing signs or symptoms of iron deficiency, you should make an appointment to see a doctor.
If your doctor confirms that you have iron deficiency typically via a blood test its generally easy to treat. Your doctor will likely recommend increasing your intake of iron via your diet or supplements .
The main aim of treatment is to restore hemoglobin levels and replenish your bodys iron stores.
Your doctor will develop a treatment plan that best meets your healthcare needs. Before changing your diet or deciding on any supplements, its best to consult your doctor.
Do I Need More Iron During Pregnancy
Yes. During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to support your growing baby. In fact, pregnant women need almost twice as much iron as women who are not pregnant do. Not getting enough iron during pregnancy raises your risk for premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby . Premature birth is the most common cause of infant death. Both premature birth and low birth weight raise your baby’s risk for health and developmental problems at birth and during childhood.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about these steps:
- Getting 27 milligrams of iron every day. Take a prenatal vitamin with iron every day, or talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement .
- Testing for iron-deficiency anemia7
- Testing for iron-deficiency anemia four to six weeks after childbirth
Dietary Factors Affecting Iron Absorption
Certain foods and drinks affect how much iron your body absorbs.
To boost iron absorption:
- Consume vitamin C .
- Include animal protein with plant sources of iron, such as meat with beans for example, beef and kidney beans in a chilli con carne.
- Cook plant sources of iron . In most cases, cooking increases the amount of available non-haem iron in vegetables. For example, the body absorbs 6% of the iron from raw broccoli, compared to 30% from cooked broccoli.
Foods and drinks that reduce your bodys ability to absorb iron:
- Soy proteins can reduce absorption from plant sources.
- Tea, coffee and wine contain tannins that reduce iron absorption by binding to the iron and carrying it out of the body.
- Phytates and fibres found in wholegrains such as bran can reduce the absorption of iron and other minerals.
- Inadequate vitamin A in your diet could lead to iron deficiency because vitamin A helps to release stored iron.
- Calcium and phosphorus reduce the absorption of plant-sourced iron.
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What If I Forget To Take It
If you forget a dose, take another as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time to take the next dose, then do not take the missed dose at all.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicine.
Symptoms Of Iron Poisoning
Among the initial signs of iron poisoning are nausea and abdominal pain. Vomiting blood can also occur. Iron poisoning can also lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Sometimes, too much iron causes stools to turn black and bloody. These symptoms usually develop within six hours. After that, symptoms may appear to improve for a day or so.
After those early symptoms, other serious complications can develop within 48 hours after the iron overdose, such as:
If you suspect your child has iron poisoning or any type of poisoning from a medication or supplement overdose, call 911. This can be a life-threatening emergency. Iron poisoning always requires emergency room evaluation.
When you call 911, try to have the following information available:
- your childs age, weight, and symptoms, as well as other health conditions
- name of the iron product, including other ingredients and strength
- amount that was swallowed
- time it was swallowed
That same information is important for adults who may have iron poisoning. The condition is less common in adults than in children. But if it happens, a fast response is also necessary.
Treating iron poisoning often involves a procedure called whole bowel irrigation. A special solution is swallowed or given through a tube that is passed through the nose and down into the stomach. The solution helps flush the body of the excess iron.
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When Should I See A Doctor
Many of the symptoms of iron deficiency are also the symptoms of the busy, and sometimes stressful, lives we live. Tiredness and struggling to focus at work, for example, are very common and not usually due to iron deficiency. They usually just get better on their own after a week or two.
If you have had one or more of the symptoms listed above, for more than a few weeks, you should arrange to see a doctor or nurse. You can then have investigations carried out, which will include looking to see if iron deficiency is causing your symptoms. If you are short of iron, it is important to get medical advice.
Does Birth Control Affect My Risk For Iron
It could. Hormonal birth control, such as the pill, the patch, the shot, or the hormonal intrauterine device , is often used to treat women with heavy menstrual periods. Lighter menstrual periods may reduce your risk for iron-deficiency anemia.
Also, the non-hormonal, copper IUD may make your menstrual flow heavier. This raises your risk for iron-deficiency anemia.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about your risk for anemia and whether hormonal birth control may help.
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What Is The Normal Dose Of Iron Supplement
What is the normal dose of iron supplement? The typical supplement dosage for treating anemia is 150 to 200 milligrams each day, which amounts to 2 to 5 milligrams of iron per kilogram of body weight, states the American Society of Hematology. Dont attempt to treat anemia on your own, though.
What happens if you take too much iron? Excessive iron can be damaging to the gastrointestinal system. Symptoms of iron toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Over time, iron can accumulate in the organs, and cause fatal damage to the liver or brain.
What is the recommended iron per day? Recommended Intake. Men and women over 50 need at least 8 milligrams of iron per day, while women 50 and under need at least 18 milligrams of iron per day. You shouldnt consume more than 45 milligrams of iron per day from supplements or food, as this could cause toxicity symptoms.
What is the max amount of iron per day? According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the maximum safe level for iron is 45 milligrams per day for all adults. However, if you have iron-deficiency anemia, you may require higher doses of iron until the iron levels in your body return to normal levels.
Diagnosing An Iron Deficiency
There are different types of anemia, so it is important to undergo a proper diagnostic workup when evaluating the cause of your anemia. Blood tests that measure your complete blood count, nutrient levels, and inflammatory markers can all reveal the underlying cause.
In the case of iron deficiency anemia, the following labs can be used for a diagnosis [2
Iron supplements may increase inflammation in the GI tract, as well. However, this only appears to occur when there is already an imbalance in the gut microbiota or if gut pathogens are present . This is another reason why its important to focus on improving your gut health either before or while optimizing your iron levels.
Despite these issues, there are some forms of supplemental iron that seem to be a little easier on the gut. Ferrous gluconate appears to cause the least amount of GI upset, as do chelated forms, like ferrous bisglycinate. The following are three popular forms of iron supplements:
Iron supplements are contraindicated in some conditions, such as hemochromatosis , which primarily affects men . In select cases, it may be best for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome to avoid iron supplementation . In severe, but uncommon, instances, excess intake of iron supplements can lead to vomiting, liver injury, and other organ damage .
For these reasons it is important to speak with your health care practitioner and have your iron levels checked before starting iron supplements.
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Suggestions For Parents Young Children
To prevent iron deficiency in toddlers and preschoolers:
- Include lean red meat in their diet 3 to 4 times a week. Offer meat alternatives such as dried beans, lentils, chickpeas, canned beans, poultry, fish, eggs and small amounts of nuts and nut pastes. These are important sources of iron in your childs daily diet. If your family follows a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may need to seek advice from a dietitian to ensure you are meeting all your childs dietary needs.
- Include vitamin C in their diet as this helps the body to absorb more iron. Make sure your child has plenty of foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, lemons, mandarins, berries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, cabbage, capsicum and broccoli.
- Encourage solid foods at mealtimes and take care that toddlers are not filling up on drinks between meals.
- Remember that chronic diarrhoea can deplete your childs iron stores, while intestinal parasites such as worms can cause iron deficiency. See your doctor for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
- Fussy eaters may be at risk due to poor intake or lack of variety in the foods they eat. Seek advice from your dietitian, local doctor or child health nurse on how to manage a fussy eater.
Suggestions For Parents Teenagers
To prevent iron deficiency in teenagers:
- Talk to your child about the importance of iron. Help them become informed enough to make their own responsible food choices.
- Encourage iron-rich foods and meals, such as iron-fortified breakfast cereals and breads, and serve meat, poultry or fish with the evening meal.
- Offer good sources of non-haem iron such as dried beans, lentils, peas, broccoli, spinach, beans, fortified cereals, breads and whole grains if your child wants to avoid red meat or become vegetarian. Vitamin C-rich foods should also be encouraged, such as fruits or vegetables with meals.
- Encourage only moderate amounts of tea and coffee, as these can interfere with iron absorption.
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Why Is Iron Deficiency Anemia Important To Know About
Iron is a critical nutrient for the bone marrow to synthesize hemoglobin. Hemoglobin binds and carries oxygen in our body. Hemoglobin covers red blood cells that travel through the bloodstream throughout the body to deliver that oxygen. Every day, we absorb iron from the intestine and lose a small amount through intestinal cells sloughing off in the stool . The net absorption and loss results in the same amount of iron maintained in the entire body: iron homeostasis. When we lack enough dietary absorption of oral iron, have intestinal inflammation to prevent absorption, or have greater iron losses from the body, then we may have a net deficiency characterized as iron deficiency anemia .
How Can I Prevent Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency may be difficult to prevent if it is due to disease – for example, bleeding from the bowels. However, it should be possible to prevent iron deficiency that is due solely to not having enough iron in your diet. See the section below on iron-containing foods.
With increasing evidence that we need to limit our intake of meat, particularly red meat, how much iron do we need in our diet? The UK recommended daily intake for an adult man is 8.7 mg. For a woman who has not reached her menopause, this is increased to 14.8 mg. Higher amounts are needed in pregnancy and in children and young people.
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Iron Loss In Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Iron deficiency anaemia can be considered a gastroenterological condition. The leading causes of iron deficiency in the developed world are menstruation and blood loss associated with gastrointestinal disease. In the latter case, blood loss in the stomach or intestine cannot be matched by duodenal iron absorption, creating a negative iron balance. This imbalance is often seen in IBD, leading to anaemia. While our understanding of IBD has grown over the past decades, the prevalence of IBD associated anaemia has changed only little: one third of IBD patients still have haemoglobin levels below 12 g/dl.1,2
Anaemia is a consistent clinical feature of IBD
Can I Get More Iron Than My Body Needs
Yes, your body can get too much iron. Extra iron can damage the liver, heart, and pancreas. Try to get no more than 45 milligrams of iron a day, unless your doctor prescribes more.
Some people get too much iron because of a condition called hemochromatosis that runs in families. Learn more about hemochromatosis, who is at risk, and how it is treated.
You can also get too much iron from iron pills or from repeated blood transfusions.
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Roles Of Iron In The Body
Some of the many roles of iron in the body include:
- Oxygen transport red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a complex protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Haemoglobin is partly made from iron, and accounts for about two thirds of the bodys iron.
- Myoglobin a special protein that helps store oxygen in muscle cells. Myoglobin contains iron and is responsible for the red colour of muscle.
- Enzymes many enzymes throughout the body contain iron, including those involved in energy production. Enzymes are catalysts that drive many cell functions.
- Immune system proper functioning of the immune system relies, in part, on sufficient iron. The immune system helps us fight infection.
Table : Causes Of Iron Deficiency Anemia
- chronic hepatitis and liver conditions
- previous gastrectomy
- achlorhydria and hypergastrinemia
- digestive system surgeries to lose weight
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- a rare disease that occurs when an abnormal protein, called amyloid, builds up in your organs and interferes with their normal function
- other types of GI conditions that cause damaged or impaired absorption sites
- some types of colonic or gastric polyps
- gastritis, esophagitis
- acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding
- use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin that can cause internal bleeding
- parasitic infections
- vascular abnormalities
- heavy menstruation
- abnormal breakdown of red blood cells
- regular blood donation, phlebotomy
- some eating disorders
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Which Iron Pills Are Easy To Digest
Taking iron in liquid form may be easier on the stomach. Floradix is a plant-based, easily absorbable liquid iron supplement containing organic iron in addition to herbal extracts, fruit juices and vitamin C and B complex.
What causes watery diarrhea?
Watery diarrhea is usually caused by a viral infection or food poisoning from eating undercooked meat or rotten foods. Watery diarrhea can also be caused by protozoa. If you have watery diarrhea that lasts 3 or more days, you may have a chronic illness.
What are the side effects of fefol Spansule capsules?
Allergic reactions, for example skin rashes, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, shortness of breath and/or collapse. mouth with your stomach) or bronchi if the capsule enters the airways. If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
Is it okay to eat fefol capsules when pregnant?
This condition is called iron deficiency anemia. FEFOL is used to prevent or treat iron deficiency anemia and to prevent folic acid deficiency during pregnancy. Due to the risk of mouth ulceration and tooth discolouration, the capsules should not be sucked, chewed or kept in the mouth but swallowed whole with water.
Are there any side effects when taking ferrous sulfate?
What foods can increase the absorption of fefol?
Other Ways To Increase Iron Levels
If you have low iron levels and are unresponsive to iron supplements, cannot tolerate the side effects, or simply are interested in other ways to increase your iron levels, read on for tips on how to increase your iron.
1.Increase dietary iron: Certain iron-rich foods like red meat, spinach, and fortified cereals can help raise iron levels. Additionally, consuming vitamin C along with iron-containing foods may increase iron absorption in the gut.However, one study found that vitamin C intake, alongside iron supplementation, had no effect on iron absorption . Additionally, excessive use of vitamin C supplements can lead to diarrhea, causing poor absorption of iron-rich food or oral supplements.
2.Asses for low copper levels: Recent research suggests that a copper deficiency may be at the root of low iron levels. Copper and iron metabolism have a close-knit relationship, and a deficiency in one of these minerals may alter levels of the other .Consider optimizing your copper levels, under the guidance of a functional medicine practitioner, when increasing your iron levels.
3.Increase stomach acid: If low stomach acid is at the root of your low iron, betaine hcl can increase iron absorption. Betaine hcl should be taken right at the start of meals and never on an empty stomach . You should not take this supplement if you have been diagnosed with peptic ulcers or if you feel a burning sensation upon ingesting it.
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Iron Infusions During Pregnancy
A pregnant womans need for iron increases as her fetus develops. As the fetus absorbs iron from her body, the mothers iron levels may drop, resulting in anemia. For that reason, doctors sometimes order iron infusions for pregnant women.
Infusions are often preferred over oral iron supplements because taking it by mouth can cause gastrointestinal side effects. However, iron infusions are usually reserved for the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Its not yet known if it is safe to administer iron infusions during the first trimester.