Most people receive enough Iron through their regular diets; whereas some must take additional amounts to meet their needs. The deficiency occurs when the body fails to produce enough red blood cells or sometimes it is lost with slow or small amounts of bleeding in the body and several other factors including heavy menstrual periods, pregnancy, ulcers, kidney disease or a diet lacking iron. This deficiency is commonly referred to as anemia and may lead to unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, a decrease in physical performance, and learning problems in children and adults, and may increase your chance of getting an infection.
In addition to eating foods that are rich in iron, you may have to take oral iron supplements that will treat your symptoms by increasing the levels of iron and hemoglobin in your body.
You do not need a prescription to buy iron supplements. Working with your doctor, you can determine if you have deficiency and the cause behind it. And then you can choose the right one according to your needs. There are different choices available when it comes to types of iron supplements. Keeping in mind that everybody is different (and a one-size-fits-all iron supplement does not exist), here is an easy guide to help you choose the right iron supplement for you.
1.CHECK HOW MUCH IRON YOU NEED
The dosage of iron depends on age, gender, existing conditions, and dietary intake. In adults, ideally 8 mg for adult men and 18 mg for women of elemental iron is recommended on daily basis. For the treatment of anemia, adults are recommended 100 to 200 mg of elemental iron per day.
Pregnant women need more iron (around 27 mg per day) whereas women who are breastfeeding need less than usual (9 to 10 mg per day). The amount of iron requirement for children varies depending on their weight, age, and sex. It is a good idea to check with your doctor the exact dose of iron needed for your child.
CHECK THE LEVEL OF ELEMENTAL IRON IN THE SUPPLEMENT
When choosing your iron supplement, instead of looking at the overall strength (or weight), look at the amount of elemental iron.
The overall iron content will usually appear under names like ferrous ascorbate, ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate and ferrous bisglycinate. Regardless of the quantity of any of these contents, the exact amount of iron available for absorption is mentioned by the level of elemental iron.
For example, an iron supplement (i.e. ferrous fumarate) may read "300 mg" on the front of the bottle, but only contain 100 mg of elemental iron.
2. FAMILIARIZE WITH DIFFERENT FORMS OF IRON SUPPLEMENTS.
Iron can be taken in forms such as tablets, capsules, or liquid. You may also choose a slow-release form of iron: these may provide a steady release of iron into the body but have not proven to be superior to other forms of iron. Capsules may be easy to swallow. Tablets are usually less expensive option. Liquid forms are usually preferable for young children or elderly who may have difficulty swallowing. Slow-release supplements are usually absorbed in minor quantities.
Other than these, you can also choose your iron supplement based on your personal dietary preferences e.g. vegan iron supplements if you are vegetarian or vegan, liquid iron supplements for children and elderly but they tend to stain your teeth. A way to prevent this is by mixing the supplement with water or juice or drinking it through a straw.
Other forms of iron supplements include powder, suspension, liquid-filled capsules, syrup, and elixir.
3. CONSIDER FOLLOWING AN IRON-RICH DIET
If the deficiency is caused due to poor iron consumption, you should reconsider your diet before taking over-the-counter iron supplements. Or start with a diet that includes foods with decent iron content along with oral supplements.
Iron is found in the diet in two forms; Heme Iron usually found in meat products and Non-Heme Iron, which is usually found in non-meat products.
-Food with large quantities of heme iron Meat: liver, lean-ground beef, pork, turkey leg, and lamb leg
-Food with normal or smaller quantities of heme iron Fish: sardines, oysters, tuna, shrimp,
-Food with non-heme iron Cereal: Iron-fortified cereal, whole wheat bread, oatmeal
Kidney beans, peas, or lentils
The best dietary source of absorbable heme iron is lean red meat. Foods rich in vitamin C (e.g., citrus fruits and fresh vegetables), eaten with small amounts of heme iron-containing foods, such as meat, may increase the amount of non-heme iron absorbed from cereals, beans, and other vegetables. Some foods (e.g., milk, eggs, spinach, fiber-containing, coffee, tea) may decrease the amount of non-heme iron absorbed from foods.
Using iron pots for cooking might increase the iron level to the food. Although the supplements work best on an empty stomach, taking them with food will prevent the risk of upset stomach. Avoid taking iron supplements with milk, caffeine, antacids, or calcium supplements as they 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 the absorption.
EBMfer is a vegan iron supplement with built-in vitamin C advantage that helps increase energy levels in people with low hemoglobin levels. As EBMfer has vitamin C in it, you do not need to take orange juice or vitamin C separately for increased iron absorption. EBMfer is available as capsules or liquid.
EBMmoms capsules is a vegetarian or vegan prenatal supplement that contains 100 mg iron and 1000 mcg of B12 including 12 vitamins and 5 minerals and may be suitable for women planning to become pregnant or are pregnant or breast feeding and having iron deficiency so that don’t have to take iron supplement and multivitamin supplement separately.