Supplementing an iron deficiency is extremely important! But why? Well, iron is a mineral that is essential for your health. All your cells contain some iron to function properly, but most of the iron in your body is in your red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the organs and tissues in your body.
Iron plays a role in creating energy from nutrients. This mineral also contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses. These are the signals that coordinate the actions of different parts of your body. If you take in more iron than your body needs, this mineral is stored in your body for future use.
You may need to supplement the iron deficiency in these situations
However, several conditions and situations can lead to an iron deficiency. Given that iron is important for our health, supplementing an iron deficiency should be a high priority.
That is why in this article we zoom in more closely on 10 situations that could cause you to have an iron deficiency. It is logically not said that you have an iron deficiency when one or more situations apply to your life.
Nevertheless, it is good to be extra vigilant and – if you think you may be deficient in this essential mineral – have this checked by a medical specialist.
Read on to learn about the 10 common iron deficiency conditions. In this way, a possible iron deficiency can be supplemented faster and more effectively.
1. You Have Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is caused when there is not enough iron in your red blood cells. Without healthy iron levels, your red blood cells cannot effectively deliver oxygen to your cells and tissues. This harms your health.
Replacing iron deficiency quickly – by supplementing this mineral or supplementing your diet with more iron-rich foods – would therefore be necessary in this case to ensure good health.
Common symptoms that can be linked to anemia include:
- A tired feeling
- Feeling weak and weak
- Having trouble concentrating
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common forms of anemia in the Netherlands. Many people in the Netherlands have it – so they have to supplement their iron deficiency to prevent anemia.
The causes of anemia that occur with great regularity are:
- One or more stomach ulcers
- Cancer in the digestive tract
- Blood loss due to an accident or blood donation
- Internal bleeding due to prolonged use of certain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
In short, there is a clear link between supplementing iron deficiency and anemia.
2. You are pregnant and therefore need to supplement an iron deficiency
Women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding should take in 15 to 16 milligrams of iron daily. However, women who are pregnant need significantly more of this mineral. According to the Nutrition Center, the recommended daily amount of iron for pregnant women is not exactly known. They recommend that you short-circuit the daily amount with a specialist, such as your GP or a dietician.
Don't double your prenatal vitamins (vitamins you need during pregnancy) if you're worried you're not getting enough iron. This can cause you to consume too many other nutrients. This can result in health problems for your baby and yourself.
In other words, supplementing iron deficiency should therefore responsibly take place. So talk to your doctor or doctor about taking an iron supplement in combination with prenatal vitamin supplements.
3. You have a baby
Supplementing an iron deficiency is more common in expectant mothers, but why? Here's the thing: Babies store excess iron from their mothers while in the womb. These supplies are used by them during their first six months of life. After the first six months, you should add iron-rich foods to your diet.
Most pediatricians recommend using formula fortified with iron when bottle feeding your baby. Premature babies — who haven't had time to build up their iron stores — probably need extra of this mineral.
Always consult a pediatrician before giving your child iron supplements.
4. Replenishing an Iron Deficiency Because You're Menstruating
Menstruation depletes the iron stores in the female body. This is why women are more anemic than men – especially when they are in menopause. Some research suggests that ethnicity is a risk factor for anemia.
It is estimated that 19 percent of African-American and Mexican-American women are anemic. Compared to 9 to 12 percent of non-Hispanic white women.
5. You practice a sport and therefore have an iron deficiency
Numerous researchers agree that female athletes are at increased risk of iron deficiency. The exact reason is unknown to date. Researchers theorize that athletes may need more red blood cells to carry oxygen so they can continue to perform throughout their sport.
Also in this situation, it is important to take into account an iron deficiency, if necessary. Blood tests will show that.
6. You experience regular blood loss
People who experience excessive blood loss often need extra of this mineral. Blood donors and people with internal bleeding are at extra risk of deficiency. Internal bleeding can be caused by drugs or conditions such as ulcers and cancer. It is also important to mention that regular blood donation is not recommended if you have a naturally low iron level.
7. You are being dialyzed
Many people on kidney dialysis need extra iron. The kidneys are responsible for the production of erythropoietin; a hormone that tells the body to make red blood cells. Anemia is often a result of kidneys not functioning properly.
You may lose a small amount of blood during dialysis. And as well, dialysis diets often limit iron intake. Some medications to be used for dialysis can also deplete iron stores in the body or interfere with the body's ability to absorb iron.
In other words, supplementing a possible iron deficiency and dialysis go hand in hand!
8. You're on drugs that deplete your iron stores
Some medications can interfere with your body's ability to absorb iron. A possible iron deficiency supplement could result from this. Medications that can deplete iron stores in the human body include:
- Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE)
Consult your doctor if you are concerned about a drug that may cause iron deficiency. However, do not stop taking a medication yourself unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a specialist (such as a doctor). Supplementing an iron deficiency must be done safely.
9. You have ADHD and would therefore benefit from iron supplementation
A 2014 study published in the Annals of Medical & Health Sciences Research found that iron deficiency is increasingly associated with ADHD. Replenishing an iron deficiency can take a while, but – according to this research – would be very effective for children with ADHD.
While examining blood levels of iron, ferritin, vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, the researchers found that children with ADHD had lower iron and ferritin levels. Ferritin stores iron in the cells for later use.
10. You often cough because of ACE inhibitors you are taking
Supplementing an iron deficiency also takes place more often in this tenth situation. This situation is characterized by frequent coughing or coughing due to the use of ACE inhibitors. Doctors prescribe ACE inhibitors to treat several conditions, including:
- heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Mild Kidney Disease
ACE inhibitors may even help prevent kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes.
A dry cough is a recurrent side effect of this type of drug. According to one study, people who took 200 milligrams of ferrous sulfate (iron) daily were less likely to cough.
The researchers also found that taking iron increased the amount of nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide helps reduce cough associated with ACE inhibitors.
Supplementing iron deficiency summarized
If you suspect that you have a deficiency, for example, because you suffer from symptoms that may accompany it, it is wise to have this checked.
Blood tests can determine whether or not you have an iron deficiency. Never self-diagnose, as there may be other underlying health conditions that cause similar symptoms.
Ideally, you should take iron supplements on an empty stomach, as food can reduce the amount of this mineral your body absorbs. Taking an iron supplement with foods or drinks containing vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron better.
Make sure you only take in the recommended daily amount of this essential mineral. This amount should not be exceeded, as too much iron is toxic – especially for children. If you want to start supplementing with an iron deficiency, you should first consult a doctor or dietitian to find out how long you should use an iron supplement.