How much iron should i take daily for iron deficiency? Do you have to take iron pills for a condition called iron deficiency? What are some questions you should ask your doctor before deciding to take iron supplementation? Iron deficiency is common and can cause a range of symptoms including fatigue, trouble breathing and dizziness. But how much iron should you take to treat iron deficiency? And are some iron supplements better than others?
Taking the right amount of iron everyday can help you overcome or treat an iron deficiency. This article walks you through how much iron should you take daily for Iron deficiency, according to the recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines. Anemia is a condition characterized by the decreased rate of the red blood cells. The symptoms include are fatigue, feeling weak, dizziness, headache and pale skin.
When someone has anemia, they need to get a proper treatment and follow the iron rich diet plan in detail. Thus, this article will give you the updated details on all the things that you should be doing in order to deal with issues associated with anemia and thus get rid of it. Below are the health benefits of iron.
How Much Iron Should I Take Daily For Iron Deficiency
Iron is needed in the body for healthy red blood cells, haemoglobin and myoglobin. Iron deficiency may result in a pale face, pale lips, cramps, irritability and fatigue. This article will tell you how much iron supplement to take daily for iron deficiency to continue with healthy lifestyle. It’s important to follow an iron recommended dosage to avoid side effects and health risks. This post will help you choose the daily dose that is optimal for your diet, age and sex.
Oral Iron Supplementation
What is iron?
Iron is one of the minerals in the human body. It is one of the components of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that helps blood carry oxygen throughout the body.
If you do not have enough iron, your body cannot make hemoglobin, and you may develop anemia. This is known as iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia.
Factors that can lower your body’s supply of iron include:
- Blood loss (caused by ulcers, some cancers, and other conditions; and, in women, during monthly periods)
- A diet that doesn’t have enough iron in it
- An increase in the body’s need for iron (for instance, in women during pregnancy).
Factors which Affect Iron Absorption and Retention
- The most important factor is your existing iron level. A low iron level will increase absorption, while a high iron level will decrease absorption. In general, you absorb 10-15% of the iron from foods. (1)
- Meat proteins will increase the absorption of non-heme iron. (1)
- Vitamin CÂ will increase the absorption of non-heme iron by as much as 85%. (1,4)
- Tannins, oxalates, polyphenols, and phytates found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron by up to 65%. Black tea reduces absorption more than green tea and coffee. (1,4,5)
- The following teas and beverages also inhibit iron absorption: Peppermint tea, cocoa, vervain, lime flower, chamomile, and most other herbal teas containing polyphenols. (5)
- Calcium, polyphenols, and phytates found in legumes, whole grains, and chocolate can reduce absorption of non-heme iron. (1) Further milk and antacids can inhibit absorption of iron supplements. (6)
- Some proteins from soy products may inhibit non-heme iron absorption. (1)
- High fiber foods, such as whole grains, raw vegetables, and bran can inhibit absorption of iron supplements. (6)
- Foods or drinks containing caffeine can inhibit absorption of iron supplements. (5,6)
Causes of Iron Deficiency
- Menstruating WomenÂ – Due to blood loss during menstruation, women are at risk of iron deficiency. The greater the blood loss the greater the risk. (1)
- Individuals with Kidney FailureÂ – People with kidney failure, and especially those on dialysis, are at high risk of iron deficiency anemia. This is due to an inability of the kidney to create adequate amounts of the hormone erythropoietin which is necessary for red blood cell creation, and therefore, retaining iron. (1)
- Pregnant and lactating women Â – A developing fetus requires a high amount of iron, likewise, there is a high amount of iron lost through breast milk after birth. (1)
- Older infants and toddler sÂ – Infants and toddlers require a lot of iron as they grow and so are at risk of iron deficiency. (1)
- People with low levels of Â Vitamin AÂ – Vitamin A helps move iron from storage in the body. Without adequate amounts of vitamin A, the body cannot regulate iron leading to an iron deficiency. (1)
- People with gastrointestinal disorders Â – Diarrhea, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal disorders and diseases can lead to an inadequate iron absorption. (1)
- Cancer Â – 60% of patients with colon cancer are iron deficient. 29-46% of patients with other cancers are also deficient in iron. (1)
- People with Gastrointestinal Disorders Â – People on a restricted diet, or who have problems absorbing nutrients are at risk of iron deficiency. This includes people after bypass surgery. (1)
- People with Heart Failure – Around 60% of people with heart failure are iron deficient.
Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.
Stages Of Iron Deficiency
Iron is one of the key nutrients needed by the human body, just like calcium and vitamins. A lack of iron in our diet can lead to a deficiency which can be harmful. There are several phases of iron deficiency. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at each stage, causes, symptoms and how to fix them.
Iron deficiency Anemia is the most common form of anemia, affecting approximately 30% to 40% of menstruating women worldwide. It’s important to know what the stages of iron deficiency are so you can start correcting this problem.
Iron deficiency in general describes not having enough stored iron in your body.
Anemia refers to a low hemoglobin ( the protein in your blood that contains most of your body’s iron and carries oxygen) level.
Iron Deficiency Anemia refers specifically to anemia (low hemoglobin) caused directly as a result of low iron body stores.
Now this is where things get a bit more complicated.
Iron deficiency technically progresses over three stages.
Stage 1 – Storage Depletion – Lower than expected blood ferritin levels. Ferritin is the storage form of iron, and low ferritin levels are the first sign that the body’s iron stores are compromised.
Stage 2 – Mild Deficiency- During the second stage of iron deficiency, transport iron ( known as transferrin) decreases. This is often accompanied by a reduction in size of red blood cells even though hemoglobin levels remain normal.
Stage 3 – Iron Deficiency Anemia – Hemoglobin begin to drop in the final stage which, depending on other blood work, may formally be defined as IDA. At this stage your red blood cells are fewer in number, smaller and contain less hemoglobin.
Who is most likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia?
Anyone can develop iron-deficiency anemia, although the following groups have a higher risk:
- Women: Blood loss during monthly periods and childbirth can lead to anemia.
- People over 65, who are more likely to have iron-poor diets.
- People who are on blood thinners such as aspirin, Plavix®, Coumadin®, or heparin.
- People who have kidney failure (especially if they are on dialysis), because they have trouble making red blood cells.
- People who have trouble absorbing iron.
How is anemia diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider can perform blood tests to tell if you have anemia. The type and number of blood tests will depend on what type of anemia your doctor thinks you might have.
The blood tests will measure your hemoglobin and how much iron is in your body. If these levels are low, the doctor can make a diagnosis of anemia.
How is anemia treated?
Your healthcare provider will decide on the proper treatment, depending on the type of anemia and what is causing it.
Your doctor must first find out if the anemia is being caused by a poor diet or a more serious health problem. You can then be treated for both the anemia and its cause.
Iron-deficiency anemia is treated by eating foods that are high in iron, or with oral (taken by mouth) iron supplements.
What foods are high in iron?
The following foods are good sources of iron:
- Kidney beans
- Beef liver
- Beef (chuck roast, lean ground beef)
- Turkey leg
- Whole wheat bread
- Peanut butter
- Leg of lamb
- Brown rice
- Raisin bran (whole grain-enriched cereals)
- Blackstrap molasses
What is oral iron supplementation?
In addition to eating foods that are rich in iron, you may have to take oral iron supplements. There are many different types of oral iron supplements, including pills, capsules, drops, and extended-release tablets. The purpose of oral iron supplementation is to treat your symptoms by increasing the levels of iron and hemoglobin in your body.
You don’t need a prescription to buy iron supplements. Working with your doctor, you can choose which type is best for you.
The iron in your body is called “elemental iron.” Oral iron supplements contain different amounts of elemental iron. When you choose a supplement, be sure to check the label to see how much elemental iron it contains; a greater amount means that more iron will be absorbed by your body.
What dose of iron is usually prescribed for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia?
Your doctor will tell you how much iron you need to take every day. For the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults, 100 to 200 mg of elemental iron per day has been recommended. The best way to take the supplement so that you absorb the greatest amount of iron is to take it in two or more doses during the day. However, extended-release iron products may be taken once a day.
Please note the following:
- Although the supplements work best on an empty stomach, you may want to take them with food so that they don’t upset your stomach.
- You shouldn’t take iron supplements with milk, caffeine, antacids, or calcium supplements. These can decrease the amount of iron that is absorbed.
- Try to take your iron supplement with vitamin C (for example, a glass of orange juice) to increase absorption.
When will I start to feel better?
When you should start to feel better depends on your particular situation. Normally, it may take from a week to a month (after you start your iron supplement) before you start to feel better. Continue to watch your symptoms and take note of side effects that might be caused by the supplements. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your healthcare provider.
What are the side effects of oral iron supplements?
Oral iron supplements can cause the following side effects:
- Dark stools
- Upset stomach
- Constipation (you may need to take a stool softener)
How long will I have to take an oral iron supplement?
Your doctor will let you know how long you will have to take the iron supplement. Usually, after your hemoglobin and iron levels are back to normal, you will continue to take the iron supplement for another six months. Afterward, you will have regular blood tests to measure your iron level.
Iron Rich Diet Plan for Anemia
Daily Meal Plan for People With Anemia
Anemia occurs when your body does not have enough red blood cells. This happens either when the body does not create enough red blood cells, or when the ones it does create are being destroyed. This is a serious health problem because red blood cells carry oxygen to every part of your body. Without oxygen your organs, including your brain, cannot function properly. One way to combat anemia is by eating a diet rich in iron and in the foods that help you absorb iron.
Start With a Hearty Breakfast
A good way to combat anemia, according to Harvard Medical School, is to eat a diet rich in vitamin B-12, folate and iron. Vitamin B-12 is found only in animal products and fortified foods, while leafy green vegetables contain folate and iron. Folate is also found in avocados, bread, mangoes, oranges, papaya and pomegranate. Iron is found in nuts, seeds and whole grains. A spinach omelet with whole grain toast and a glass of orange juice provides B-12, folate and iron. Or you could have oatmeal or a fortified cereal with chopped nuts and mango or papaya sprinkled on top.
Enjoy a Late Morning Snack
Nuts are a good source of iron, according to the physicians at Family Doctor.org. They are also high in protein, which can help you feel full until it is time for lunch. Have 1 to 2 ounces of cheese and some dried fruit, along with dry roasted, unsalted mixed nuts to round out your snack.
Plan an Iron-Packed Lunch
Meat, poultry and seafood are your best foods for anemia, according to the experts at Crozer Keystone Health System, so plan your lunch around a lean protein such as chicken. A sandwich containing chicken, a slice of cheese, either romaine lettuce or spinach, and some sliced red pepper or tomato gives you iron, B-12, folate and vitamin C. Seafood ceviche is also high in iron, as is a leafy green salad with tomatoes.
Indulge in Anemia Treatment Afternoon Treats
A light snack in the afternoon can help keep your iron levels and blood sugar up, and keep hunger at bay so that you can make smarter choices at dinner. Non-heme iron-rich foods — those that don’t come from animal sources — are generally lower in calories and saturated fats, but your body will only absorb between 2 and 10 percent of your food’s non-heme iron, according to the American Red Cross. Pairing non-heme iron with vitamin C helps your absorption, so consider an apple or orange with a handful of nuts, or whole grain granola with chopped nuts and dried fruits for a light and satisfying snack.
Do a Smart and Delicious Dinner
Dinner offers you a great chance to get your heme iron. Half of your plate should be leafy green vegetables, so consider a fresh spinach salad with chopped walnuts, red pepper and goat cheese dressed with olive oil, lemon juice a little salt and pepper. Any kind of meat or seafood goes well with this, but shrimp or chicken makes for an especially pleasing iron-rich meal.
Anemia Menu for Vegetarians and Vegans
Avoiding animal products, which are the best source of vitamin B-12, can pose a challenge when it comes to creating an anemia diet plan, but it is certainly not an insurmountable one. Many plant-based foods are high in iron. Non-heme iron is not as easy for your body to break down and use, so it needs to be paired with vitamin C. Stay away from coffee, tea, milk and whole grains when eating non-heme foods, because they contain things like tannins and polyphenols that can interfere with the absorption of iron. The experts at Cleveland Clinic recommend consulting your health-care provider to figure out exactly how much iron you need in a day so that you can plan your meals accordingly.