Iron supplement: 3 health properties, permissible amount and side effects
iron supplement

Iron supplement: 3 health properties, permissible amount and side effects


Iron Deficiency Anemia | Facebook

Anemia caused by iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, especially among children and women.

This type of anemia is due to insufficient amounts in the consumed diet, malabsorption, severe blood loss due to surgery or accidents, gradual loss of blood during menstruation, or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Inadequate vitamin C intake can also contribute to the deficiency. This vitamin is necessary for its absorption in plants.

Iron deficiency anemia should not be confused with megaloblastic anemia due to inadequate intake of folic acid and vitamin B12. Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia caused by a deficiency of a substance called intrinsic factor in the stomach resulting in malabsorption of vitamin B 12.



Usually, the allowable consumption amount per day depends on a person’s age and gender.


  • 0 to 6 months: 0.27 mg
  • 7 to 12 months: 11 mg


  • One to three years: 7 mg
  • Four to eight years: 10 mg


  • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg
  • 14 to 18 years: 11 mg
  • 19 years and older: 8 mg


  • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg
  • 14 to 18 years: 15 mg
  • 19 to 50 years: 18 mg
  • 51 and over: 8 mg
  • Pregnancy: 27 mg

Its deficiency during pregnancy can lead to premature labor. Iron supplements may be appropriate for people who cannot get enough through their diet.

It is usually best to eat iron-rich foods to maintain good iron status in your body while eliminating or reducing substances that prevent its absorption. Most of these food contain a variety of minerals that are beneficial to the body and can help maintain good overall health.


Its deficiency can cause many problems for human health. These problems include cognitive dysfunction, digestive disorders, poor exercise, and work performance, decreased immune function, and poor body temperature regulation.

The deficiency anemia is associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus erythematosus.

In children, iron deficiency anemia can cause cognitive and psychological disturbances.


Blood volume and red blood cell production increase during Pregnancy to provide the fetus with oxygen and other nutrients. Therefore, its consumption should also be increased. While the body naturally and regularly regulates the absorption during pregnancy, insufficient consumption of it can lead to anemia. Its deficiency during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth and an underweight baby. It can also cause psychological and cognitive impairment to the fetus.


Not having enough of it in your diet can lower energy levels in the body. As you know, it carries the required oxygen to the muscles and brain and is essential for mental and physical function.Its deficiency leads to decreased concentration, increased irritability, and decreased endurance.


Its deficiency is common among athletes, especially young women. This deficiency leads to a lack of good athletic performance and a decrease in the activity of the immune system. A lack of hemoglobin can reduce physical function.


It has low bioavailability which means that its absorption in the small intestine is low, and the efficiency of absorption depends on the source and other nutritional components, gut health, use of medications and supplements, and the general condition of iron in the body.

In most countries, many products are fortified with iron. There are two types of iron in the diet: heme and non-heme iron. Most animal products, such as seafood, contain heme iron which is easily absorbed.

Other sources include fortified cereals, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

Its bioavailability in diets containing meat, seafood, and vitamin C ranges between 14 and 18%. Eating foods rich in vitamin C With other iron sources can lead to an increase in its absorption. The absorption of non-ferrous materials is also restricted by the following:

  • Protein pump inhibitors
  • Polyphenols in cereals, legumes, and spinach
  • Tannins in coffee, tea, and some berries
  • Phosphates in soft drinks
  • Phytates in legumes and grains

Absorption of  both the heme and non-heme type may be affected by calcium intake.


  • Iron-fortified cereal
  • Cooked white beans
  • chocolate once 45 to 69%
  • cooked oyster
  • cooked spinach
  • calf liver
  • Cranberry
  • lentil
  • tofu
  • peas
  • Tomatoes
  • boiled potatoes
  • Peanuts
  • an egg


The permissible dose is 40 to 50 mg.

People with the inherited disorder of hemochromatosis absorb it three to four times more than other people. Therefore, these people are at high risk of overdosing. This causes the excess to be stored in the liver and other organs of the body, which leads to the formation of free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in the liver, heart, and pancreas.

It can also increase the risk of developing cancer. About 10% of white people in northern Europe carry the gene. Frequent use of supplements of 20 mg or more can cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain, especially if the supplement is not taken with food.

In severe cases, it can lead to  overdose, organ failure, coma, seizures, and even death. This is why it is important to keep iron supplements out of children’s reach to reduce the risk of fatal overdose.

These supplements were the cause of about a third of child deaths in the United States between 1983 and 1991. As a result, there has been a significant change in the packaging of these supplements so that children cannot use them.

Some studies have shown that excessive intake can increase the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.

Recently, scientists have begun researching the potential role of excess in the development and progression of diseases such as MS and arthritis. Preliminary research shows that enough iron is needed to help care for the nervous system and the joints in the bones, while poor iron metabolism can increase oxidative damage and inflammation.

It plays a major role in oxidative stress and skin damage. Excess intake can lead to the formation of iron deposits on  the skin.

The supplements can react with many medicines such as levodopa (used to treat restless legs syndrome and Parkinson’s disease) and levothyroxine (used to treat hypothyroidism, goiter, and thyroid cancer).

If you want to take iron supplements, it is best to get help from a professional. Excessive intake can be dangerous and over-the-counter iron supplements are not recommended at all.

The best way to reach the required iron state in the body is to use food.

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