What are Iron Vitamins?
Iron is a mineral essential for keeping the human body healthy, as it is needed by the body’s red blood cells, which provide oxygen for the rest of our systems. Iron is also stored in organs of the body such as the liver, spleen, bone marrow and muscles until needed by other bodily systems.
Iron is also needed for the body to make other substances the body needs such as norepinephrin, dopamine, serotonin, and collagen. Most people in the U.S. are not deficient in iron, as they have access to foods that provide the needed daily supplies of iron. However, under certain circumstances, a deficiency of iron can exist.
Symptoms of Iron Shortage in the Body
Doctors can discover if someone is deficient in iron by doing two simple blood tests. A hemoglobin test will show how much hemoglobin in the body, and a hematocrit test shows the percentage of red blood cells and how much iron is in the body. There are also other more specialized tests available to confirm the shortage and need for additional iron in the body.
If you don’t get enough iron in the body, it causes you to become anemic. The symptoms of iron shortage include being weak and tired. Shortages in iron can also cause learning difficulties in young children, as well as other problems. In these cases, you should add iron vitamins do your daily regimen.
What can cause iron shortages?
Shortages can occur frequently in women if they are pregnant or have heavy menstrual cycles. It can also occur in both men and women if they have a bleeding ulcer, tumor, or some other cause of internal bleeding. If you give blood often, you could also have inadequate amounts of iron, so should be taking a multi-vitamin with iron vitamins (read about the best vitamins for woman here)
Poor ability to absorb iron in the body can also be due to conditions such as Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal issues, ulcerated colitis, parasite infections, hemorrhoids, or if someone is taking too much aspirin (as it causes bleeding).
Signs of Too Much Iron in the Body
It is also possible to have too much iron in your body, which can cause damage to the liver, skin problems, or even diabetes. It can also lead to heart failure or cirrhosis of the liver or damage to the intestines. You should never self supplement with large doses of iron supplements. If you suspect you may be deficient in iron, you should instead go to the doctor and get a blood test to confirm or deny any problems.
Dosage of Iron Vitamins
A daily dose of 18 mg of iron vitamins is sufficient to keep an adult from being deficient in iron. The requirements for children and young people differ according to age, so talk to your doctor for more information before giving them iron supplements.
Several types of iron supplementation can be used, including ferrous gluconate, ferrous sulfate (the most common), ferrous ascorbate, ferrous fumarate, and carbonyl iron. If someone is already deficient in iron, the doctor may prescribe a higher dose until the person’s blood levels show a sufficient amount of iron present.
You can also get iron vitamins from dietary sources such as red meat, liver and other organ meats, shellfish, poultry and in a less absorbable form in some beans or lentils, nuts, seeds, and molasses. Many other pre-packaged foods contain supplemental amounts of vitamins such as iron like cereal, etc.
If you eat the latter with vitamin C, it will be absorbed better into the body. Studies show that people get about 10 percent of their iron from the foods they eat. Drinking too much caffeine containing beverages can cause the body not to absorb iron.
Iron vitamins are easy to purchase in pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores, health food stores, and online at many websites. They are not expensive or hard to find.
Cautions involving Iron Vitamins
One of the most common forms of child poisoning is by them eating an overdose of vitamins containing iron supplements. A child can be killed with a dose as small as 200 mg of iron, so it must be kept out of their hands at all times. Teach children that multiple vitamins are not candy, so refrain from calling them that if you give them daily vitamin supplements.
Side effects from taking iron vitamins can also produce nausea, constipation, heartburn, dark colored stools, or other stomach issues. You should not take iron and calcium at the same time or you won’t get all the benefits of either substance. Instead, take at least two hours apart.
All in all, iron vitamins are a needed product to supply hemoglobin to our bodies. We can get iron vitamins from many foods, as well as from supplements. Iron should be kept away from children as it is very toxic if they get too much of it in a vitamin or supplement form. For more information on iron, you should talk to your doctor.