Do I Need Iron Supplements?

Do I Need Iron Supplements?

Everyone is taking supplements these days. Some are required, but some may not be. One of the most common ones is iron supplements. If you have iron deficiency, do you need to take iron supplements? Should you take these supplements anyway, just in case? Learn what you need to know about iron’s role in the body, what deficiency means, and why iron deficiency testing might suit your health profile. Let’s take a look.

What does iron do in the body?

Iron is one of those minerals you probably know has something to do with your blood health, but not much beyond that. If this is your stance, you are absolutely on the right track! Red blood cells contain haemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body, that molecule contains iron. This is obviously a very critical function for blood health and general health throughout the body. If you are iron deficient, you might deal with iron deficient anaemia.

Like any deficiency, iron deficiency can be mild or severe. Even in the mildest cases, insufficient iron can limit your body’s function. That’s a fancy way of saying that being slightly deficient in iron can impact your body in ways you’ll notice in its daily functions. If your GP or test results tell you you are iron deficient, taking iron through supplements or iron-rich food is a good idea.

Living with iron deficiency can also have a negative impact, specifically on pregnant women. The pregnancy outcome could be impacted, and it also will have a lasting impact on the baby for immune function and even neurodevelopment.

Can I get iron from food?

Can I Get Iron From Food?

Generally, taking proper nutrition from food or drink is better than taking artificial supplements whenever possible. So, you’ll be happy to learn that you can easily find iron in many foods. In most cases, you should be able to get all of the iron that your body needs daily from a typical daily diet. Some of the best examples of iron-rich foods include:

  • Liver
  • Red meat
  • Soybeans
  • Various beans (red kidney beans, chickpeas, etc.)
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Fortified cereal

With so many choices in iron-rich food, you can see how getting proper iron content is so simple. So, why would you be deficient? We’ll get into that next!

When do I need an iron supplement?

So, if you can easily and comfortably enjoy iron in a daily diet, why rely on a supplement? The thing is, iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world. While many food sources are rich in iron, many can not or do not eat enough in proper daily quantities. That leads to deficiency quickly.

Unless you make it a daily goal to deliberately eat your daily recommended amount of iron, you can see how common this deficiency is. Even if your body responds quickly to a lack of iron, many don’t even know they are struggling with a lack of iron. That’s why iron deficiency testing is essential for those wanting to know what’s going on in their body.

It's also important to note that Haemochromatosis is a disorder that causes too much iron, and supplements shouldn't be taken if this is something that affects you.

How much iron do I need in a day?

So, with all this talk about iron deficiency, how much iron should you take in daily? Of course, it’ll depend on your biology, but a few general guides will help lead you forward. For men over 19 years of age, aim for 8.7 mg. Women between 19 and 49 should get 14.8 mg per day. However, women over age 50 should drop down to 8.7 mg per day.

Of course, these are intended for general goals. Your GP will be able to help you out with more specific results.

Can too much iron be harmful?

Iron can be harmful to your body if you overdo it. It’s common to go over the recommended dose if you combine an iron supplement with many iron-rich foods daily. However, it doesn’t get dangerous unless you take over 20 mg of iron daily.

Just like being under your daily recommended amount of iron per day can be damaging, so can overdoing it. Do your best to keep within the healthy limits mentioned above! Iron deficiency testing will help give you real-time results on how much iron you’re getting daily. Our test screens for ferritin, which is a biomarker of how much iron you have in your body.

It’s interesting to learn that there is so much talk about iron deficiency, especially with it being as common as it is. So, with this information to guide you, you’ll know whether you can get your daily recommended amount of iron from your food or consider iron supplements for your best health profile results!

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