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When to Take Iron Supplements
The average American gets their daily iron needs met through diet. However, in certain circumstances, some people may not be getting enough iron from diet alone. In these casesiron supplements may be able help.
Iron Supplement Dosage
The amount of iron you need varies depending on your gender, age, and general health. For healthy adult males, the recommended dietary allowance of iron is around 8 - 10 milligrams per day. That number refers to the amount of iron that is actually absorbed into your body; the number on your iron pills may not match it exactly. For healthy adult women over age 50, that number is the same as for men. However, the recommended daily allowance of iron for adult females between the ages of 19 and 50 is around 10 - 15 milligrams per day. This is to help compensate for iron lost through menstruation. If you are pregnant, your iron needs will be even higher. However, each person is unique. Before taking any iron pills, you should ask your doctor what the appropriate dose of iron is for you.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
Potential signs of an iron deficiency include: difficulty exercising, shortness of breath, fatigue, cold hands or feet, brittle nails, hair loss, a fast heartbeat, and strange cravings for dirt or clay. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. He or she can do a simple blood test to check for anemia (iron deficiency). Your doctor can also make sure your symptoms are not due to a more serious condition and help you formulate a treatment plan if necessary.
Side Effects of Iron Pills
Iron supplements can help increase the amount of iron in persons who are not getting enough. However, be cautious - it is dangerous to take in too much iron. You should work closely with your doctor to ensure that you are getting a safe, beneficial amount of iron. Iron pills may cause side effects. Some of the most common side effects are gastrointestinal distress, nausea, and vomiting. Check in with your doctor if you are feeling abnormal while taking iron supplements. He or she can help you find out what is causing your symptoms and what to do about them.
How to Take Iron Pills
It is best to take iron supplements on an empty stomach. You should swallow iron pills with your choice of water or fruit juice either 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating a meal. However, if you are concerned about the possibility of an upset stomach, your doctor may instruct you to take your iron pills with food or immediately following a meal. When used under the supervision of a doctor, iron pills are generally safe. However, if you experience any side effects, you should call your doctor as soon as possible.
Iron Supplements for Women
It's especially important that women check their iron levels regularly, since one in five women who are of childbearing age may have iron-deficiency anemia. Pregnant women also require twice as much iron as women who are not pregnant. It's recommended that all pregnant women take a low-dose iron supplement or prenatal vitamin that contains iron. If you're not sure whether you need to take an iron supplement, ask your doctor to run a blood test to check your iron levels. Vitamina C may boost your iron absorption, but it's also important to get some from your diet by eating iron-rich foods like red meat and green leafy vegetables.
Iron Supplements for Men
Anemia in men is less common, but that doesn't mean that they may not need an iron supplement. Look for products that feature a low-dose version of iron, and those that won't upset your stomach. Men can also take gender-specific multivitamins that contain iron, but these are less common than they are for women. It's best to check your levels before taking a supplement, and then add more red meat to your diet to help increase iron levels naturally. Ideally, adult males should get approximately 8 milligrams of iron per day.
Iron Supplements for Anemia
If you've been diagnosed with anemia, your doctor will likely give you a prescription iron supplement. You can also take over-the-counter iron supplements, but it's important to make sure that you choose the right type. Approximately 100-200 mg of elemental iron per day is recommended for those with iron deficiency anemia. The ideal way to take these supplements is to break them into two separate doses during the day unless you take an extended-release iron supplement. Iron is best taken on an empty stomach but look for products that help to reduce stomach irritation. Don't take iron with milk, caffeinated beverages, or antacids as they can decrease the amount of iron that's absorbed. Instead, take your supplement with vitamin C or a glass of orange juice.