What Is an Iron Deficiency and Who Needs an Iron Supplement?
An iron deficiency is a condition of having too little iron in the body which results in too few healthy red blood cells in the body, ultimately leading to anemia. The most common symptoms of an iron deficiency and possibly anemia are:
Although anyone who doesn't get enough iron from their diet can develop an iron deficiency, some people, especially women (due to blood loss during menstruation), are more at risk. Anemia is also the most common blood condition for pregnant women to develop and can put you and your baby at higher risk for several complications, including pre-term birth and low birth weight. Therefore iron supplements for anemia are vital during pregnancy. As mentioned previously, your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. During pregnancy, you need double the amount of iron than normal because your total blood volume will double over the course of your pregnancy! So, taking an iron supplement to produce more blood is a must for moms-to-be. Iron also helps move oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body and to your baby as well. Therefore you need more iron to make more blood to supply more oxygen to your baby. During pregnancy, you are even more likely to develop an iron deficiency or anemia because your body will use its precious stores of iron to take care of the baby (it is also important in fetal brain development). Make sure you take care of BOTH of you by making sure there is enough iron to go around, either by eating an iron-rich diet or taking the best iron supplements for anemia and pregnancy.
An appropriate time to begin iron supplementation is after about 12 weeks of pregnancy when the iron requirements for pregnancy begin to increase. A dose of 30 mg/day is suggested and approximately half of your iron intake will go toward the developing fetus and placenta. The other half will be used to increase the amount of blood in your circulatory system. This is vital to protecting your own body during childbirth, as a typical vaginal delivery will lose approximately a pint (500mL) of blood and for a cesarean section, it’s closer to two pints (1,000mL). Having low blood volume can lead to complications during delivery and the postpartum period. You are also at increased risk of developing anemia during pregnancy if you have two closely spaced pregnancies, are expecting twins, triplets, etc, are vomiting frequently due to morning sickness, or have a previous history of anemia.
Besides pregnant women, vegetarians and vegans are also at a higher risk of iron deficiency or anemia. This is because the type of iron - heme iron - which you get from meats like beef and chicken absorbs better than the non-heme iron found in beans and greens. If you are vegetarian or vegan an extra boost of iron through iron supplements might be necessary. Other people who should keep an eye on their iron levels are:
- frequent blood donors
- people with cancer
- people with gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease
- those who have undergone gastric surgery
- people with heart failure
- those taking iron-depleting medications, such as those used to reduce stomach acid
- people regularly partaking in heavy exercise
- people with blood disorders, such as thalassemia or sickle cell anemia
- people with alcoholism
Our instant dissolve iron supplement is 27mg of quickly absorbed iron if you have a deficiency. We also offer an iron complex supplement that is great for pregnancy as it includes folic acid and vitamin B alongside the 25mg’s of iron.