Will Iron Supplements Help Anemia

Will Iron Supplements Help Anemia? (Must Read)

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition occurring when there aren’t sufficient iron levels in your body. It takes quite some time for this condition to develop, but it can be severe once it does.

If you suffer from this condition, your body isn’t capable of producing enough hemoglobin – a protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells. Because of that, iron deficiency tends to make you tired and short of breath.

There are many ways to treat iron deficiency anemia. From changing your diet to include more iron-rich foods to taking medication, the treatment depends on the severity.

One of the most common ways of treating iron deficiency anemia is taking iron supplements. But how effective are they?

  • Taking iron supplements can greatly help improve low iron levels and treat iron deficiency anemia. Since they have a concentrated amount of iron in them, they can improve your symptoms rather fast.
  • Because of that, iron supplements are one of the most common and effective ways to treat iron deficiency anemia.

What are iron supplements?

Iron supplements are usually sold in liquid or pill form, so you can choose which ones work best for you. Taking them helps your body replenish its iron levels, especially if you’re deficient as a result of blood loss, post-surgery, or after childbirth.

Iron supplements are also very common for pregnant women and those of childbearing age. 

This is because women not only require more iron than men, but they also need more of this mineral in certain situations like these two.

But this doesn’t mean that only women take iron supplements. In fact, many people these days suffer from mineral deficiencies, including iron. So, taking supplements can help you get more iron quickly, without leading to anemia.

So, iron supplements are very common for various conditions.

How much iron do you need per day?

Generally, men and women need different amounts of iron. Men over 18 require about 8.7 mg of iron a day. Women aged 19 to 50 need 14.8 mg of iron each day. The difference is due to the fact that women at that age are in the reproductive state of their life, and they’re menstruating.

On the other hand, if you suffer from iron deficiency anemia, you may need higher amounts of this mineral each day. Because of that, it’s important to consult your doctor to determine what dose is most beneficial for you.

Plus, remember not to take too much iron if you don’t need to. After all, if you follow a healthy diet, you’re very unlikely to be iron deficient. 

How can iron supplements help anemia?

Iron supplements contain much more iron than you can get from any single serving of iron-rich food. So, taking iron supplements can help with iron deficiency anemia much quicker than just adjusting your diet to include more iron-rich foods.

Some of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, speedy heartbeat, and shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feed
  • Brittle nails
  • Inflammation and soreness of the tongue

You don’t have to experience all the symptoms mentioned above to be diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. But if you notice quite a large number of them, you might want to consult your doctor or take some supplements.

Iron + Vitamin C at FutureKind.com

So, if you notice these symptoms, taking iron supplements can reduce their severity and frequency. 

What’s more, taking iron supplements is important for certain people as well, especially those prone to iron deficiency. These individuals include:

  • Pregnant people
  • Infants and young children
  • People with heavy menstrual periods
  • Frequent blood donors
  • People with cancer
  • People with diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
  • Individuals after massive surgery
  • People with heart failure
  • People on plant-based diets
  • People with alcoholism
  • People with blood disorders
  • People taking iron-depleting medications

So, if you identify with one of the above and experience the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, you might want to check your blood iron levels and consider taking iron supplements.

How often should you get your iron levels tested?

Before you start taking iron supplements, it’s important to check your iron levels. This is important as healthy individuals don’t need iron supplements.

The most common way to check your iron levels is to consult your doctor. There, you can get your blood tested and get results relatively quickly. 

If you don’t have preexisting issues with iron deficiency anemia, you only need to get tested about once a year or whenever you get your yearly physical. But if you are prone to iron deficiency, you might need to check your iron levels more frequently.

How should you take iron supplements to help with anemia?

Iron supplements can be taken on their own and at any time of the day. But there are some ways you can ensure that your body absorbs as much of the iron as possible.

For instance, taking your iron supplements with food can greatly improve the absorption of this mineral. It’s also good to take these supplements with vitamin C-rich foods since this micronutrient helps your body to absorb iron.

Still, your body can absorb iron from iron supplements if you don’t take them with food. But it might mean that you’re getting a lot less iron. So, consider having even just a glass of orange juice when taking iron supplements. 

How long does it take for iron supplements to work?

There are a lot of factors that influence how fast iron supplements will help you with anemia.

If you’re very deficient, it might take much longer for your body to replenish your iron levels. In fact, it may take up to four weeks for you to notice a change and improvement in your symptoms.

In most cases, it takes about two to three weeks for you to notice an improvement in the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia as long as you take the supplements regularly.

Sometimes, you might need to keep taking your iron supplements for several months to ensure that your body builds up iron reserves and prevent iron deficiency anemia from returning.

Can iron supplements help with all types of anemia?

Unfortunately, taking iron supplements only helps with iron deficiency anemia. But there are many more types of anemia, which require different kinds of treatments.

Iron + Vitamin C at FutureKind.com

For example, there are several types of vitamin deficiency anemia. These occur when your body has extremely low levels of certain vitamins that contribute to the health of your cardiovascular system, such as folate, vitamin B12, and similar.

There are also many types of anemia, such as sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, and hemolytic anemia, which require much more treatment than just taking iron supplements.

So, if your symptoms become more and more severe, even though you take iron supplements, make sure to consult your doctor to get a checkup and prevent serious issues from developing.

One more thing to keep in mind is that over-the-counter iron supplements can only be beneficial for mild to moderate iron deficiency. Once you develop severe anemia for a very long time, you might need stronger iron supplements or prescription medication.

As a result, it’s important to consult with a doctor when you notice unusual symptoms.

Can iron supplements be dangerous?

If you don’t suffer from iron deficiency or anemia, taking iron supplements is unnecessary. In fact, it can be dangerous sometimes.

An iron overdose happens most often in young children, but it’s also quite common in adults, especially those taking iron supplements. Symptoms of iron overdose include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • In severe cases: organ failure, internal bleeding, coma, seizures, and even death.

Because of that, it’s important not to take supplements when you absolutely don’t have to. That way, you can be sure you’re not risking any health issues. 

Generally, multivitamin supplements contain lower doses of iron than supplements containing just iron. Because of that, you can safely take multivitamins every day without risking any adverse health effects.

Is it possible not to see any improvement when taking iron supplements?

Most people react very well to iron supplements. So, with some time (anywhere between two to four weeks), you should be able to notice a significant improvement in your iron deficiency anemia symptoms.

In some cases, though, people might have trouble absorbing iron from iron supplements. When that happens, you should consult your doctor, as you may need other medication.

So, if you don’t notice any improvement after about four weeks, be sure to contact your doctor.

Still, remember that even though initial improvement in your symptoms occurs about four weeks after starting your iron supplements, it takes much longer to replenish your hemoglobin levels.

In fact, it can take up to three months to completely replete your hemoglobin levels and even longer to replete ferritin levels – a blood protein that contains iron.

So, it’s important to be patient when taking iron supplements, especially if you’ve been iron deficient for a while.

What iron supplement is best for anemia?

Most generic and commercially available iron supplements are enough to help you increase your intake of iron. 

But if you suffer from a particularly bad cause of iron deficiency or are looking for supplements with additional nutrients, you might want to look at other brands.

So, here are some of the best iron supplements available in pharmacies and online:

1. Future Kind Vegan Iron Supplement with Natural Vitamin C

This is not only a great supplement, but it’s also vegan. So, you can take it if you follow a plant-based diet. It’s suited not only for vegans, of course. Anyone can take them.

This supplement provides you with 100% of your daily recommended need for iron. What’s more, it also contains vitamin C (56% of your daily need).

As a result, taking this supplement not only helps prevent anemia but also ensures that you’re at a lower risk of various cardiovascular and blood-related conditions.

2. Pure Encapsulations OptiFerin-C

This type of iron supplement provides you with vitamin C too. This micronutrient helps with the absorption of iron, ensuring that your body gets all the iron from the capsule. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb non-heme iron.

One capsule provides you with 111% of your daily need for vitamin C and about 156% of your daily need for iron. So, as long as you follow an otherwise healthy, balanced diet, you should replenish your iron levels quite quickly.

3. Thorne Research – Iron Bisglycinate

Thorne Research - Iron Bisglycinate - 25 mg Iron Supplement for Enhanced Absorption Without Gastrointestinal Side Effects - 60 Capsules

These are one of the more affordable iron pills available in most stores. One capsule contains around 139% of your daily recommended need for iron, which is a great amount. 

These pills are very common for people with gastrointestinal issues, as it doesn’t irritate or inflame your digestive system. So, if you have stomach problems, this brand might be your best choice.

4. Pure Encapsulations – Iron Liquid

If you don’t like taking supplements in pill form, there are many brands that offer liquid supplements. For example, this brand is hypoallergenic, with a blueberry flavor.

One serving (one teaspoon) provides you with 83% of your daily need for iron. Since it’s in a liquid form, you can take it with beverages and food, especially if the flavor doesn’t appeal to you.

Liquid supplements are also much easier for children since they don’t require them to swallow large pills. 

5. Needed Iron for Prenatal, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Postpartum

Needed Iron for Prenatal, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Postpartum | Thyroid Function, Immune Support, Energy, Birth Weight, Baby's Neural Development | 60ct

One capsule of this supplement provides you with 50% of your daily recommended need for iron. It’s slightly less than some other iron supplements, but it comes with many other health benefits, especially for expectant mothers.

For example, this supplement supports your immune health, birth weight, baby’s neural development, and thyroid health. So, it can be a better choice than other supplements if you’re pregnant.

6. Klaire Labs Chewable Iron Chelate

One capsule of this supplement provides you with 167% of your daily need for iron. Because of that, it’s very effective at treating iron deficiency anemia. In addition to that, it helps boost your energy levels and prevent fatigue.

This supplement doesn’t contain any eggs, milk, wheat, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, soybeans, or fish. Because of that, it’s suitable for people with allergies and many dietary requirements.

What’s more, these iron capsules are chewable. So, if you have trouble with swallowing pills, this form might be a better choice for you.

7. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Iron Supplement

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Iron Supplement - 30 Vegan Capsules, 22mg Once Daily Iron, Vitamins C, B12, Folate, Fruit, Veggies & Probiotics, Iron Supplements for Women, Energy & Anemia Support

This iron supplement contains about 122% of your daily need for iron. It also provides you with large doses of vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B12. Because of that, this supplement is excellent for the health of your cardiovascular system.

You can also get a good amount of raw organic fruit and vegetable, which contribute to your health and iron absorption even more.

In addition, this supplement doesn’t cause constipation and indigestion. It does contain live probiotics and enzymes that help digestion and improve your overall health.

8. NOW Iron Supplement

One capsule of this supplement contains 18 mg of iron, making it a perfect iron supplement for people with iron deficiency anemia. It also has tremendous benefits for your immune, cardiovascular, and neurological health.

You can also get a lot of potassium, selenium, silica, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and boron. It’s very gentle for your digestive system, so you’re not risking indigestion and other issues, even if you’re sensitive to supplements. 

9. Amazon Elements Iron

Amazon Elements Iron 18mg, Supports Red Blood Cell Production, Vegan, 195 Capsules, 6 month supply (Packaging may vary)

This supplement provides you with 100% of your daily need for iron in a single capsule, making it very efficient at treating iron deficiency anemia.

What’s more, it doesn’t contain any binders, artificial flavors and colors, chemical preservatives, or gluten. It’s also vegan, so you can take it on a plant-based diet without any worries.

It’s also on the cheaper side, so it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget.

Conclusion

As you can see, taking iron supplements can be a great help in treating iron deficiency anemia. They can also help you increase your intake of this mineral if you follow a plant-based diet or simply want to get more iron.

While following a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need, sometimes you might need some additional help.

So, it’s good to know that iron supplements are very effective at treating anemia.

Sources: National Library of Medicine, PMC, BMJ, and Research Gate