Nearly two thirds of iron is present in the hemoglobin.

The iron, which the body needs, is taken from the hemoglobin and the rest you get from your food intake.

When an iron deficiency occurs and a lack of absorption of the iron is evident, your doctor will most likely prescribe an iron supplement for it.

Where does Iron Come From?

Iron from animal sources comes from red meats, specifically liver and kidney and lean beef.  Iron is also present in abalone, anchovy, sardines, and poultry.

Iron may also be found in vegetables such as lentils, beans, fresh parsley, spinach, and olives.

If you have a low intake of the necessary foods, you will experience a deficiency. This happens over time and it has to do with the fact that a negative iron balance develops.

When this occurs, you do not obtain adequate iron for your daily need and you become anemic. You might want to read more about the supplement you would need.

Iron is an important part of the body. Iron supplements are therefore be a great asset to everyone who experiences low dietary intake of iron, has inadequate absorption rate of iron, or any excessive blood loss.

What are the signs of anemia?

The body has a way of letting you know if you have any deficiency. When your body has an iron deficiency, you will:

  • Feel fatigued
  • Have pale skin
  • Have a fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Have shortness of breath
  • Have chest pains
  • Suffer from dizziness
  • Have cognitive problems
  • Have cold hands and feet
  • Have headaches
  • Have decreased work performance
  • Have decreased school performance
  • Have an inflamed tongue

These symptoms will be dependent on what the cause of your anemia is. Pregnant women will often need iron supplements during their pregnancy since they are more prone to becoming anemic.

You would be able to identify whether you have an iron deficiency, if you look at the symptoms and then at your diet. The foods you have been eating would tell you whether you have had sufficient intake or not.

You will find that the FDA has attached Daily Value to the amount of a specific nutrient in a food source. Thus, you are able to know when you have neglected to eat the right amount of any of the necessary nutrients in your diet.

How would you solve the problem?

If you eat meat, you should have a sufficient intake of iron. Vegetarians have a greater chance of becoming anemic and would most likely be in need of an iron supplement at one point or another.

The best way to solve the problem is to improve your iron intake through natural sources. This would mean through your daily diet.

For the vegetarian this means that you should take be sure to eat the right vegetables to obtain  your dietary iron. If it’s not possible, then ask for iron supplements to be prescribed by your doctor.

Some vegetarians or vegans might need regular iron supplements in addition to their dietary iron intake.

How would an iron supplement help you?

An iron supplement is often the only way in which you will be able to get rid of the iron deficiency in your body. If you suffer from anemia, it would be the quickest way in which to get your iron levels and its absorption back to normal.

You should consult with your doctor, who would be able to test your iron levels and prescribe the best form of iron supplement for your type of anemia.

What are the side effects of iron supplements?

The side effects of prescribed iron supplements for therapy can cause gastrointestinal problems such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark colored stools
  • Abdominal distress

These side effects can be minimized if you start with a lower dosage and gradually build it up to the full dosage. If you take it with food, it will assist in this regard as well.

Who should be excluded from taking iron supplements?

Some people, such as adult men and postmenopausal women might be excluded from taking iron supplements as this would cause problems for them. The reason for this is that these profiles are not prone to iron deficiency.

A supplement would therefore cause them to suffer the consequence of an iron overload. This could lead to organ damage and heart failure.