When it comes to choosing the best iron supplement for women, many factors to consider. Read on to find out more!
Women need more iron than men, and they have different dietary needs. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body, and a lack of it can cause anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness.
There are many different iron supplements available, and not all of them are equally effective. The body better absorbs some than others. It’s essential to choose the right supplement for you and that you will be able to take it consistently.
What is iron?
Iron is a mineral that has many functions. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the body. We get iron from the foods we eat. Iron is also an essential part of many proteins and enzymes. Your body needs iron for growth and development.
Iron is an important mineral for women. An iron deficiency can lead to several health problems, including fatigue and anemia. While there are many different ways to get your daily dose of iron, supplements are one of the most popular methods. In fact, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 percent of American women take an iron supplement regularly.
Iron is a mineral that helps your body make red blood cells
Iron is a mineral that helps your body make red blood cells. Red blood cells are the carriers of oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is needed for cells to function and grow, making iron an essential nutrient for proper development.
Iron is a mineral that helps your body make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. It’s essential to have enough iron in your blood to stay healthy and prevent fatigue, weakness, and other side effects of anemia.
Your body usually gets iron from the food you eat. Most people do not get enough iron from diet alone, so they need to take a daily supplement or multivitamin with iron.
Why do women need iron supplements?
Women are more likely to be iron deficient than men, so they need to get enough of the mineral. Pregnant women have even higher needs for iron because they need more hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body) and because their blood volume increases. Women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding also tend to be at risk for low iron levels.
Your body absorbs about 20 percent of the iron you eat from food sources, but only about 5 percent of the iron you take as a supplement. This is because supplements contain non-heme (meaning it doesn’t come from animal tissue) iron. Your body has a much harder time absorbing non-heme iron than heme iron (from animal tissue). Luckily, you don’t need to take mega doses of the mineral because it stays in your body long.
So which iron supplement is right for you?
That depends on your needs and preferences. Some women prefer supplements that come in liquid form, while others prefer pills or capsules. And some women prefer supplements that contain only elemental iron, while others like those that also include vitamins and minerals.
To help you decide which supplement is right for you, we’ve compiled a list of the five best iron supplements for women. Keep reading to learn more about each one.
1. Ferrous Sulfate
Ferrous sulfate is one of the most popular and well-known iron supplements. It’s available in both liquid and pill form, and it’s one of the cheapest options out there. However, it can cause unpleasant side effects, such as constipation and stomach pain.
2. Iron Chelate
Iron chelate is another popular option. This supplement is available in both liquid and pill form, and it contains a higher dose of iron than ferrous sulfate. It also doesn’t have as many unpleasant side effects as ferrous sulfate.
3. Polysaccharide-Iron Complex
Polysaccharide-iron complex is a newer iron supplement that’s becoming increasingly popular. It’s available in both liquid and pill form, and it doesn’t have any of the gastrointestinal side effects associated with other iron supplements.
4. Elemental Iron
Elemental iron is a pure form of iron that’s not bound to any other molecules. It’s available in both liquid and pill form, and it has very few side effects. However, it’s important to note that the body does not as easily absorb elemental iron as other forms of iron.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps the body absorb iron. It’s available in both liquid and pill form, and it’s a good option for women who have trouble absorbing iron from other supplements.
Nature Made Iron 65 mg (325 mg from Ferrous Sulfate)
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Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the main oxygen carrier in your blood. It also plays a role in carrying oxygen to muscles and helps maintain a healthy immune system. Iron is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough iron is by taking a daily supplement. Nature Made Iron 65 mg may help improve iron levels in people with low iron intake or absorption.
MegaFood Blood Builder – Iron Supplement Shown to Increase Iron Levels
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Are you looking to increase iron levels without nausea or constipation? MegaFood Blood Builder is an iron supplement that is clinically shown to increase iron levels and maintain healthy iron levels in the blood. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, so taking an iron supplement like this one is important. This formula contains folic acid and vitamin B12 for healthy red blood cell production, plus vitamin C, beet root, and black pepper fruit extract for enhanced absorption. It’s recommended for men and women and taken just three times daily.
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Iron Supplement
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Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues and organs. Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Iron is whole food nutrition, specifically formulated with 22mg of gentle whole food iron, plus vitamin C and folate (not folic acid) to support healthy red blood cell production.
Floradix, Floradix Iron & Herbs Vegetarian Liquid Supplement for Energy Support
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Eat right and be well with Floradix Iron & Herbs! This vegetarian liquid iron supplement delivers a healthy dose of iron, plus B complex vitamins and vitamin C, to support optimal energy levels. Our plant-based extracts like nettle leaf extract and carrot root extract are gentle on your digestive system and absorb quickly in your body. We use natural fruit juice to enhance the taste, including pear, grape, black currant, orange, blackberry, and cherry juice concentrate combined with a touch of honey. So you can take this supplement easily for a safe boost to your nutrition.
Floradix Iron & Herbs is non-GMO, vegetarian, kosher, lactose-free, alcohol-free, and doesn’t contain any artificial additives or preservatives. We test everything at our German facility and test often to get the highest quality products verified for consistency, potency, and purity.
Vitron-C High Potency Iron Supplement with 125 mg Vitamin C
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Vitron-C High Potency Iron Supplement is a unique iron supplement containing iron plus vitamin C to help improve iron absorption. It’s specially formulated for individuals taking oral iron supplements looking for the added benefits of vitamin C, which can help support immune function and fight fatigue.
NOW Supplements, Iron 18 mg, Non-Constipating
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NOW Ferrochel Iron is an advanced form of iron that’s gentle and non-constipating. It contains ferrous bis-glycinate chelate, a highly absorbable mineral form that is less likely to cause digestive upset and maybe better for people with previous gastric discomfort from other forms of iron. Most forms of inorganic iron are hard for the body to absorb properly, resulting in less than optimal intake. With Ferrochel, you can get more iron into your system with less digestive stress.
Amazon Elements Iron 18mg, Supports Red Blood Cell Production
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Iron plays a critical role in the formation of red blood cells. Amazon Elements Iron delivers 18mg of elemental iron per serving, or 100% of the daily recommended value for pregnant women. Our Iron is non-bioavailable and contains ferrous fumarate – meaning it is gentle on your stomach but still easily absorbed.
What are the health benefits of taking an iron supplement?
The benefits of taking an iron supplement for women are numerous. The body requires iron to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen in the blood. Iron aids in the production of new cells and helps regulate proper cell growth and development. The benefits of iron supplements include:
Increased Energy Level
Women who are anemic or who have low iron levels often feel tired or fatigued. This is because the muscles and organs are not receiving enough oxygen, which red blood cells carry in the blood. Taking a supplement containing iron can help prevent fatigue and other symptoms related to anemia.
Improved Muscle Function
Iron helps muscles store and use oxygen more efficiently. Without adequate amounts of iron, muscles may not work as well during exercise because they aren’t receiving enough oxygen. Taking a supplement high in iron can help improve muscle function, particularly in athletes or those who engage in regular physical activity.
Improved Immune System
The immune system relies on white blood cells to fight infection and disease. Iron helps promote healthy white blood cell activity, which results in a stronger immune system. Women who take a daily supplement containing iron may experience fewer colds or other illnesses than women who do not take supplements.
Better Brain Function
Women who take iron supplements may enjoy an improvement in their brain function, according to a study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” in September 2000. The researchers found that iron supplementation improved the speed at which healthy female college students performed certain types of tasks and also improved their ability to concentrate.
Boosts Your Mood
Iron levels tend to drop when you’re depressed, but no evidence taking iron supplements will help your mood. However, if you’re suffering from anemia because of low iron levels and treat it with supplements, your air tends to improve along with your iron levels. So if you think iron supplements might be helpful for depression and anxiety, talk to your doctor about having your blood tested for anemia first.
What are the side effects of iron deficiency?
A person who does not get enough iron, or has trouble absorbing it, may develop symptoms of iron deficiency.
Anemia is a condition that occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells circulating in the body decreases to unhealthy levels. This can happen for various reasons, but one of the most common causes is low levels of iron in the body.
Iron deficiency anemia can affect people of any age, but it’s widespread in young children and women of childbearing age. It often goes unnoticed because its early signs are mild and non-specific, such as fatigue and dizziness.
Important notice before buying any iron supplement
If you have iron-deficiency anemia, you may be tempted to buy over-the-counter iron supplements without a prescription. But even if you don’t have anemia, iron supplements can be dangerous.
Iron supplements are typically available in 25 mg and 50 mg doses. If you take one each day, you can easily consume more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for iron in a week.
The problem with too much iron is that it builds up in your body and becomes toxic. Iron is stored in your liver, spleen, and bone marrow, where it’s needed for red blood cell production. Some excesses are stored in your fat cells or circulate free in your blood if you have too much iron.
High levels of free iron are toxic because it’s a potent oxidant — it reacts with other molecules in your body and damages them. Free iron can damage DNA and cause cancer. It also promotes inflammation and hardening of the arteries.
But ironically, excess iron isn’t good for your bone marrow either — it’s associated with impaired red blood cell production by the bone marrow that leads to low red blood cell counts (a condition called hemochromatosis).
Who Should Buy Iron Supplements?
You’re trying to get pregnant.
Get your iron stores up if you’re thinking about having a baby. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in your blood. Low hemoglobin production can lead to anemia, which makes you feel tired and weak (which could make it more difficult for you to exercise) and might also increase the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimates that more than half of pregnant women are anemic — so if you’re trying to conceive, be sure to talk to your doctor about getting tested for anemia.
You’re pregnant and have anemia.
As mentioned above, many women become anemic during pregnancy — so many that some doctors recommend prenatal vitamins with iron for all pregnant women. If you’ve been diagnosed with anemia — usually via a blood test — then your doctor will likely prescribe iron supplements and advise you on how to incorporate more iron into your diet.
You’re a woman with heavy periods or PCOS.
Women who experience heavy periods or have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also need additional iron in their diets. PCOS is a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work and can lead to infertility, weight gain, and hair growth on the face and body. One study published in the journal Clinical Biochemistry found that women with PCOS had significantly lower levels of serum ferritin (a marker for stored iron) than women without the condition.
Reasons why you might be low in iron
1. You don’t eat meat, fish, or poultry.
2. You have a lot of gastrointestinal bleeding (you have a bleeding ulcer, for example)
3. Your body is just not absorbing iron very well (this could be due to malabsorption issues such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease)
4. You have some chronic disease (like cancer) that causes you to lose more iron than the body can replace
5. You’re taking a medication that interferes with iron absorption (such as certain antacids, corticosteroids, or chemotherapy drugs)
6. You’re pregnant and need more iron to support two bodies
What are the Side Effects of high iron supplements?
In some cases, iron supplements may cause digestive problems. Possible side effects include upset stomach, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. To reduce the risk of digestive symptoms, take iron with food.
Taking too many iron supplements can lead to a condition known as iron overload or toxicity. This is rare in healthy adults who consume recommended amounts of iron from food. However, certain people have an inherited disorder called hemochromatosis that causes the body to absorb too much iron from food and supplements. This can lead to serious complications, such as liver disease and diabetes.
Interactions with other medications:
Iron supplements can interact with other medications you are taking or alter their absorption in your body. These include antacids and medicines for heartburn, ulcers, diarrhea, thyroid conditions, and osteoporosis.
Iron supplements should be taken between meals, on an empty stomach, or at least one hour before or two hours after meals. This ensures that there is enough acid in the stomach to promote absorption of the mineral.
What is the Recommended Dosage of iron supplements?
The recommended dosage for a multivitamin with iron depends on age and gender. In general, women need more iron than men because women lose blood during menstruation. Women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, also need more iron.
This is a list of the recommended daily intake of iron for everyone:
- 0-6 months: 0.27 mg
- 7-12 months: 11 mg
- 1-3 years old: 7 mg
- 4-8 years old: 10 mg
- 9-13 years old: 8 mg
- 14-18 years old (female): 15 mg (27 mg if pregnant or breastfeeding)
- 14-18 years old (male): 11 mg
- 19 or older (female): 18 mg (27 mg if pregnant or breastfeeding)
- 19 or older (male): 8 mg
Pregnant women need more iron than non-pregnant women, and the amount they need increases as the pregnancy progresses. The following table lists the recommended intake for pregnant women at different stages of pregnancy:
- 14-18 weeks: 27 mg
- 19-50 weeks: 9 mg
- 51+ weeks: 27 mg
Iron supplements are available in many forms, including pills, capsules, liquids, and injections. The type of supplement depends on how much iron you need and your personal preference.
If you have anemia or are at risk for iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend taking iron supplements. The recommended dosage will depend on your age, gender, and the severity of your condition.
If you are healthy and eat a balanced diet, you probably don’t need an iron supplement. Too much iron can be harmful. If you’re not sure you need an iron supplement, talk to your doctor.
Iron supplements are a great way to get your body’s iron. Iron is an essential mineral, and it can help with many different things, such as boosting energy levels, cognitive function, and more. However, side effects are associated with these supplements, including digestive problems or even toxic overload if you take too much of them at once. To be safe, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement. And as always, make sure that you are getting enough iron from the food you eat!
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.