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Iron Supplements


What is iron and why do we need it?


Iron is used to help create red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body and take carbon dioxide to the lungs.


A lack of iron can cause iron deficiency anemia.


  • Tiredness, lack of energy

  • Shortness of breath

  • Heart palpitations

  • Pale skin


Anemia due to iron deficiency that has not been treated:


  • can increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs – such as an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) or heart failure


  • in pregnancy, can cause a greater risk of complications before and after birth – a lack of iron affects the immune system


  • can increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs – such as an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) or heart failure in pregnancy, can cause a greater risk of complications before and after birth


The following are some of the side effects of consuming large quantities of iron (above 20mg):


  • stomach discomfort

  • constipation

  • feeling nauseous

  • being sick


Extremely high quantities of iron can be lethal, always consult your Nutritional Therapist or Healthcare practitioner.



Foods that contain iron


Foods in which iron can be found


  • Red meat

  • Beans: kidney beans, edamame beans chickpeas

  • Dried fruits

  • Soybean flour

  • Liver (not during pregnancy)

  • Nuts

  • Tofu

  • Pumpkin seeds



Different types of iron on the market


  • ferrous gluconate

  • ferrous sulfate

  • ferric citrate

  • ferric sulfate


Pros and cons of different types of iron


  • Ferrous Sulfate: Dietary iron supplements often use ferrous sulfate, a solid crystalline form of the mineral iron. The main advantage of ferrous sulfate supplements is that they help to maintain appropriate iron levels in the body.


  • Helps maintain normal blood iron levels

  • Might improve surgical outcomes

  • Used to treat iron deficiency anemia

Side effects

Supplements containing ferrous sulphate can cause a variety of side effects.


Different types of gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, and black or coloured feces, are the most commonly reported side effects. Heartburn has also been noted in some people.


Ferrous sulphate supplements may also interfere with several drugs. If you're using any of the following medications, tell your health practitioner before you start taking ferrous sulphate supplements.


  • Ferrous Gluconate is an iron supplement used to treat or prevent low blood levels of iron (such as those caused by anemia or pregnancy). Iron is an important mineral that the body needs to produce red blood cells and keep you in good health.


Side effects

Constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps or upset stomach may occur. These effects are usually temporary and may disappear as your body adjusts to this medication. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare.


  • Ferric Citrate: lowers high blood phosphate levels in people who are on dialysis due to severe kidney disease. Decreasing blood phosphate levels can help keep your bones strong, prevent unsafe buildup of minerals in your body, and may decrease the risk of heart disease and strokes that can result from high phosphate levels. This supplement is also used to treat low blood levels of iron (anemia) in people with long-term kidney disease who are not on dialysis.


Side effects


Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting may occur.

Ferric sulfate: Ferrous sulfate (or sulphate) is a medicine used to treat and prevent iron deficiency anemia. Ferrous sulfate may not be suitable for everyone.


Side effects


  • feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting), stomach pain or heartburn

  • loss of appetite

  • constipation

  • diarrhoea

  • dark or black stool

  • black stained teeth (from the drops)


This is not a complete list of possible side effects.




Sources:


https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/iron/

https://www.healthline.com/

https://www.webmd.com


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