Friday, June 3, 2011

Iron for Health: Treating Anemia with Supplements and Natural Sources of Iron

Surprisingly, Iron deficiency is not that uncommon even in developed countries. As per an estimate about nine percent of adolescent girls and eleven percent of females over the age of fifty years in Australia and New Zealand suffer from iron deficiency. The incidence of iron deficiency in developing countries in the Asian and African continent is as high as 40%among females in the reproductive age group.  Iron plays a crucial role in physical endurance and overall health.

Iron for Good Health: Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin, a component of red blood corpuscles, which determines the oxygen carrying ability of the blood. Iron is also a part of myoglobin, which is responsible for supplying oxygen to the muscles.  
Fatigue is more
often associated
with Iron deficiency
Food is the primary source of iron for human body and poor nutrition, excessive internal bleeding due to cancer or stomach ulcer or due to some type of cancer may result in iron deficiency. Though the initial symptoms associated with the condition are fairly limited, prolonged inadequacy of iron may result in the following symptoms,
  • Weakness and Fatigue which may result in decreased ability to perform strenuous or even routine activities. Constant feeling of tiredness is a critical symptom of iron deficiency anemia 
  • Breathlessness and shortness of breath on the slightest excretion
  • Palpitations or increased consciousness of one’s heart beat along with profuse perspiration is also indicative of iron deficiency
  •  Increased susceptibility to infections can make the individual prone to develop secondary infections like toenail fungus or hangnails
  • Menstrual irregularities are observed among females. Severe iron deficiency is associated with amenorrhea or complete lack of menses.
Paleness, pallor and white coating on the tongue are some of the signs which are indicative of anemia and iron deficiency.

Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for Iron: Iron Toxicity and Guidelines for using of Supplements

The Recommended Dietary Allowance of Iron is about 12-16 mg per day in women during their reproductive age and falls to 5-7 mg per day after menopause. The RDI for adult men is 7 mg per day. The RDI for pregnant and lactating women is slightly higher than the regular recommended requirement due to increased demand of the growing child.
However it is always recommended to consult your physician before taking iron supplements as excess of iron can be detrimental to health. Studies have linked excess of iron and iron toxicity with increased risk of developing chronic disease including heart disease and colon cancer.
It is advised that extra iron is not required unless a person suffers from iron deficiency.
  • Iron is best absorbed on empty stomach; however iron supplements on empty stomach may result in gastric upset and increase the risk of gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
  • Iron tends to interfere with the action of antibiotics and certain other medications. Always inform your doctor about the supplements that you take.
  • Never take iron supplements for more than six months without getting your blood hemoglobin evaluated. Six months are adequate to replenish the deficiency of iron.
  • Red Wine improves
    Iron Absorption
  • Never take iron supplements without doctor’s advice. Some individuals suffer from a disease called hemochromatosis, which is an inherited disorder in which an individuals body absorbs too much of iron
Natural Sources of Iron: Iron Supplements for Anemia

Non Vegetarian diet and animal sources of iron including liver, beef and lamb are best sources of iron. Unfortunately Vegetarian diet has limited sources of iron and is absorbed less actively. However, including 500 mg of Vitamin C in your diet can double the absorption of iron from vegetarian sources. Some of the vegetarian sources of Iron include,
·         Vegetables like eggplant and cabbage, beans and peas
·         Dried fruits like apricots and raisins
·         Kelp, blackstrap molasses and Wheat bran are also good sources of iron
·         Pumpkin seeds, squash seeds and sunflower seeds are also some of the natural sources of iron
·         Brewer’s Yeast and Red wine are also other sources that allow easy absorption of iron


  1. Thanks for writing the blog. I like such a great idea. The most important use of iron supplements is to treat iron deficiency anemia. Best Iron Supplement for Anemia

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Blood is the fluid tissue of body, responsible for the very existence of life. Blood is life. Blood travels throughout the body through blood vessels called arteries, capillaries and veins, taking with it essential nutrients, oxygen, minerals, hormones and vitamins essential for the healthy survival of bodily cells. Blood also removes the carbon dioxide and other cellular wastes from the cells to the lungs and kidneys, where the wastes are released through exhalation air or urine.

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  4. good blog :) here's a website about anemia if further info is needed

  5. It is a resourceful article. Thank You for it. However I would like to add that it is difficult to supplement the mentioned food sources on a daily lifestyle. That is why I take vita4life’s iron supplements. These are FDA approved best iron supplement.

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