Iron is one of the highly important nutrients in the human body. It plays a vital role in keeping a person fit and full of energy. However, many people suffer from an iron deficiency that is typically treated by taking an iron supplement. The purpose of these supplements is to mitigate the deficiency symptoms and increase the level of iron in the body.
Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, a substance in the red blood cells (RBCs) that help to carry oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency of iron in the body can lead to various symptoms, including excessive fatigue and paleness.
Many times, diet alone cannot help to reverse the deficiency. In such cases, people take an iron supplement that can help to boost iron levels in the body. Here, we will look at the many symptoms of iron deficiency to help you understand the condition better.
Common Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Reduced levels of iron in the body is a pretty common condition. However, if left untreated, it can develop into a more serious disorder called anemia. This is a condition in which the blood lacks adequate red blood cells to transport oxygen to the different parts of the body.
The most common symptoms of anemia include:
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Headache and dizziness
- Irregular heartbeats
- Frequent episodes of illness
- Pain in the chest
- Difficulty in regulating body temperature, feeling too hot or too cold
- Restless leg syndrome
These are some of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency in people. If you face any of these symptoms, you must consult your doctor immediately. They might recommend some iron supplements to reduce the symptoms.
It is important to note that the symptoms of iron deficiency primarily manifest as the condition progresses to anemia. It is best to get your iron levels checked regularly so that any irregularity can be treated well on time.
What is the Recommended Intake of Iron?
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) varies, depending on the person’s age and sex. Also, vegetarians have a slightly higher requirement for this nutrient.
The amount of iron one needs is:
- Men over 18 years: 8.7mg a day
- Women aged between 19 and 50: 14.8mg a day
- Women over 50 years: 8.7mg a day
- Women during pregnancy: 27mg a day
Mostly, people should be able to get their daily iron from their everyday diet. However, women who experience very heavy menstruation or are pregnant may be at a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia. For them, taking some iron supplements becomes very important.
Who Should Take Iron Supplement?
Iron supplements have proved to be very helpful in treating severe cases of deficiency. They are much quicker in offering results when compared to diet alone. So, people who have consistently low levels of iron in the body can opt for these supplements.
Some groups of people who can largely benefit from iron supplement include:
- Women in their pregnancy period
- Young children and infants
- Cancer and heart patients
- Women who experience heavy menstruation
- Those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- People who have undergone any gastric surgery
- Those suffering from blood disorders
- People who perform very heavy exercise
If you belong to any of these groups, you must get your iron levels tested regularly. This can help to diagnose the deficiency early on.
Are There Any Side Effects of Iron Supplement?
Taking them unnecessarily can sometimes harm your health. Exceptionally high doses of iron nutrient can lead to digestive issues in people.
Also, taking these supplements when the body does not require them can cause cell damage. It may go even further to cause organ failure or coma in people. Therefore, it is important to talk and discuss with your healthcare professional before taking iron supplements, especially during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you identify the right dosage of these supplements for your condition.