Should You Take an Iron Supplement? Here's What to Know
Iron plays an important role in our body. It’s an essential mineral vital to the function of hemoglobin and it’s tasked with helping our red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the organs and tissues of the body. If you don’t have enough iron, your body cannot make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
How much iron do you need?
Many individuals don’t have adequate amounts of iron in their bodies. In fact, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America.
The amount of iron you need depends on tour age, gender, and overall health. For instance, infants need more iron than adults, primarily because their bodies are growing quickly and need more of this essential nutrient. Women need more iron than men, especially during adolescence where women’s daily iron needs increase due to their loss of blood each month during menstruation. Women also need more iron if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Individuals also in need of iron supplementation are those who have kidney failure or are undergoing dialysis, have an ulcer, a gastrointestinal disorder, take too many antacids, have had bariatric surgery, or intensively work out. The following groups of people may also be at higher risk of having a diet low in iron: vegetarians or vegans, people with eating disorders, those who take antacids or who consume excessive amounts of caffeine, those who eat a diet low in fruits, vegetable, and meat, or people who do not eat a complete or diverse diet.
Benefits of Iron
When you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Without healthy blood cells, your body can’t get enough oxygen which leads to fatigue. This exhaustion can affect your brain function, as well as your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Iron also helps us maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Symptoms of iron deficiency generally include feeling short of breath, having a fast heartbeat, cold hands and feet, brittle shaped nails and hair loss, sores at the corner of the mouth, and a sore tongue. The most common symptom is excessive fatigue.
Anemia & Iron Deficiency
There are many causes of anemia, but the most common cause is iron deficiency. The main symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, brittle nails, headaches, pale skin, and difficulty concentrating. Common causes that may lead to iron deficiency anemia include heavy menstruation, peptic ulcer disease, and cancer in the digestive tract, blood loss or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Sources of Iron
Since iron is an essential nutrient, we must obtain it from food or supplementation. Foods that are high in iron are shellfish, spinach, legumes, red meat, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, turkey, broccoli, and tofu. While most people get enough iron through food sources, supplementation is necessary if the required daily amount is not met.
Is there a thing as too much iron?
Iron levels must be managed by a healthcare professional as too much iron can build up and be dangerous to the human body. Excess iron can deposit in organs, like the liver, heart, and pancreas, and lead to conditions like cirrhosis, heart failure, and diabetes.
What is Hematex?
Hematex is a high dose oral iron to be used under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional. It contains 100mg of elemental iron in the form of polysaccharide iron complex. Hematex has a great tasting chocolate caramel flavor that children and adults love, thereby increasing patient compliance and avoiding possible hospitalization due to low hemoglobin levels. It’s sugar free, dry free, and alcohol free.
Hematex is safe for kids and adults and it works to beat iron deficiency while still being gentle on the stomach. As a liquid iron supplement, it’s easy to take and requires no pill cutting or no bulky capsules. It’s easily and readily absorbable into the body.
The American Academy of Hematology/Oncology recommends at least 6 months of continuous treatment with Hematex to patients placed on oral iron.
What is Polysaccharide Iron Complex and why is it a favorable source of iron?
Polysaccharide Iron Complex is a readily absorbable form of iron to be absorbed into the columnar epithelial cells of the small intestine. Since its highly absorbable, it has fewer gastrointestinal side effects than other forms of iron, leading to less constipation and gastric distress.
The most common limitation of iron supplementation is patient compliance due to negative GI side effects, such as diarrhea and constipation. This is due to the type of iron (iron source) that is being used.
Nonetheless, Polysaccharide Iron Complex is an efficient source of iron because of its high bioavailability and significant reduction of side effects such as, gastrointestinal discomfort and oxidative stress caused by a high concentration or iron. According to experts, Polysaccharide Iron Complex allows iron to be absorbed intact through the small intestine without coming into contact with the upper GI tract and the delivered directly into the bloodstream. This allows this form of iron supplementation to be well accepted by patients, as it has led to less frequent GI complaints.
Hematex may only be used under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor and see whether Hematex is the right treatment for you.
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