Did you know that anemia affects nearly 25% of all people worldwide? In the United States alone there are approximately 1 billion people that suffer from anemia related to nutritional deficiencies.
Most people who have anemia are affected by iron-deficiency anemia. Iron helps the body to produce hemoglobin which enables red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Those who have an iron deficiency are unable to produce an adequate amount of healthy red blood cells which leaves them feeling tired, short of breath, and unable to function properly.
Those who are most susceptible to anemia include pregnant women, infants and children, the elderly, people with chronic illness , vegetarians, and those who suffer from malnourishment. Mild iron-deficiency anemia usually doesn’t lead to extreme complications, however if left untreated it can lead to serious health problems such as having a rapid or irregular heartbeat, problems during pregnancy including premature birth or low birth weight, and growth complications in infants and children.
The most common side effects and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include extreme fatigue, weakness, pale skin, chest pain, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, inflammation , unusual cravings.
Thankfully, most people can correct iron deficiency anemia through the use of iron supplementation. In this article we will review the best iron supplements as well as discuss the role of iron in the body further.
5 Best Iron Supplements
Iron Plus Hx
Iron Plus Hx® enables the body to better create red blood cells and hemoglobin through its highly absorbable and extremely potent formulation. This product contains iron bisglycinate along with major vitamins and minerals.
Vitron-C is a very powerful iron supplement which comes with primary iron that replenishes your iron reserves as well as Vitamin C.
Ferrous Fumarate is a gentler and easier to digest form of iron that reduces fatigue, boosts focus, improves mood, enhances athletic performance, and supports the immune system. This product provides 18 milligrams of ferrous fumarate per serving.
Beef Liver with Iron
Ancestral Supplements has taken grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and turned it into vitamin form. This product contains powdered cow liver that's packed with nutrients and provides animal-sourced iron.
A trusted brand that makes use of powerful and original ferrous sulfate which is a great source of iron.
Iron Plus Hx® enables the body to better create red blood cells and hemoglobin through its highly absorbable and extremely potent formulation. This product contains a gentler form of iron, iron bisglycinate, along with Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin B 12 and taurine to aid absorption and support energy production. Adults should take one capsule daily, preferably with food.
Invite® Health is a vitamin and supplement company that’s built upon the mission of helping people to integrate vitamins into their lives as well as celebrate everyone’s vision of wellness. Invite Health has been a lead innovator in the nutritional supplement industry for over 20 years and offers products which range from multivitamins and superfoods to beauty products, anti-aging supplements, and more.
Vitron-C is a very powerful iron supplement. The exclusive formula comes with primary iron that replenishes your iron reserve. It comes with vitamin C to assist make iron bioavailable to your body. You only need to take a tablet every day. It is mild to the stomach and doesn’t result in much constipation.
Ferrous Fumarate by BulkSupplements is a gentler and easier to digest form of iron that reduces fatigue, boosts focus, improves mood, enhances athletic performance, and supports the immune system. This product contains 18 milligrams of ferrous fumarate per serving and is free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, corn and additives.
Ferrous Fumarate comes in pure powder form and is sold in quantities ranging from 100 grams to 25 kilograms. Adults should take 55 milligrams once daily or as directed by a physician. It is recommended for adults to use a milligram scale to obtain accurate measurements and to reduce the risk of exceeding the recommended dosage.
BulkSupplements offers over 500 supplements which fall under categories such as fitness and sports, heart health, brain and memory, weight management, and immune support. All of its products contain pure raw ingredients, are lab tested for purity, and are manufactured at a facility that is FDA inspected. BulkSupplements stands out among its competitors due to its product versatility and ability to serve customers who stem from diverse health backgrounds, lifestyle choices, and dietary preferences.
Ancestral Supplements is a new take on a multivitamin, instead of just giving you vitamins in powdery pill form, they’ve taken grass fed pasture raised beef and turned them into vitamins. The best way to consume your vitamins is in your food, but if that doesn’t work for you, you should try to consume vitamins that are as close to their natural form as possible. Ancestral Supplements solves this by giving you powdered cow liver that is higher in nutrients than anything you’ll find out there.
Iron–Iron supplementation helps ward off fatigue, and it also is essential for tissue oxygenation.
B vitamins–These help support the formulation of cellular energy, as well as brain and overall health.
Vitamin A–Many people are deficient in vitamin A, which supports healthy organ function. It also is important for healthy vision.
Choline–This supports brain function as well as liver function.
Copper–This helps to activate enzymes that support the formation of cellular energy.
Beef liver’s many energy-supporting components may explain why it has such an impressive anti-fatigue effect. If you’re interested in the health benefits of beef organs but especially want to reduce fatigue, this is a scientifically-backed supplement that may help.
Feosol Original Iron Supplement is the best iron supplement with extensive acceptance and recommendations by clinicians. It a trusted brand that makes use of powerful and original ferrous sulfate which is a great source of iron.
Why Do We Need Iron?
Its deficiency prevents the body from manufacturing sufficient hemoglobin. Hemoglobin assists the red blood cell to transport oxygen from the lung to the tissues of the body. Hemoglobin also helps the muscle to stock up and make use of oxygen. As iron deficiency can retard the growth of children. Other effects of iron deficiency include lethargy, the whiteness of the eye and a decreased appetite for food. Criteria to look for when selecting an iron supplement
- It must be sufficiently bioavailable. Vitamin C boosts the availability of iron for the body
- It needs to come with fewer side effects like constipation and other stomach issues
Types of Iron Supplements
Iron supplements are available in capsules, tablets, chewable tablets, and liquids. Additionally, iron supplements come in many different forms such as ferrous salts and ferric salts.
Ferrous salts include ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate, and ferrous gluconate which are the most common forms of iron found in iron supplements and the best absorbed forms of iron. Ferrous sulfate tends to be found in the majority of iron supplements and is usually administered in 325 mg tablets.
Other forms of iron include ferric salts, such as ferric citrate and ferric sulfate, as well as heme iron polypeptides, carbonyl iron, iron amino-acid chelates, and polysaccharide-iron complexes. People may choose to use these products over ferrous salts due to iron sensitivity, undesired side effects, or the need for lower iron concentrations.
In some cases people may need to take iron intravenously. Intravenous iron is typically recommended when the GI tract has difficulty absorbing iron, chronic blood loss occurs, or when oral supplements aren’t tolerated by the body. The most common forms of intravenous iron include ferric gluconate, iron sucrose, and iron dextran.
What is the Right Dosage for Iron Supplements?
In most cases, it is recommended for adults to take 50-60 mg of oral elemental iron twice daily for three months to treat iron-deficiency anemia. 500 mg of ascorbic acid or orange juice should be taken with each serving of iron in order to aid the absorption of iron.
An adequate amount of elemental iron is required in any form of oral iron supplementation in order to effectively treat iron-deficiency anemia. Over-the-counter iron supplements usually contain anywhere from 20mg-100mg of elemental iron per serving.
The most bioavailable form of oral iron supplementation is ferrous iron which is most commonly offered in the forms of ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate, and ferrous gluconate. Ferrous iron tablets are generally 325mg and contain 30-100mg of elemental iron.
Although most people take an iron supplement three times daily to treat their anemia, some people may benefit from taking lower doses. Those who are sensitive to iron or can’t handle the side effects of higher doses may be able to treat their anemia by taking their iron supplement every 12 hours or even every other day.
Iron Supplements Side Effects
Even though iron supplementation is essential in the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia some users may experience side effects from its use. The following are the most common side effects associated with taking iron supplements:
- Dark stools
- Urine discoloration
- Sharp pains
- Stomach soreness
- Stained teeth
Most of the above side effects are generally associated with taking iron in the form of ferrous sulfate. Those who experience any of the above side effects should talk to the doctor about switching to another form of iron supplementation or lowering their daily dose of iron. Other ways to mitigate moderate side effects include taking a stool softener to ease constipation, drinking orange juice or using Vitamin C while taking iron to aid absorption, and brushing your teeth with baking soda or peroxide to remove stains.
In rare or special cases, some people may experience drug interactions, organ failure, internal bleeding, coma, seizure, or death from taking iron supplements. Always talk to your doctor before using iron supplements to ensure that you’re not at risk for experiencing these severe side effects.
Foods to Supplement Iron
Iron supplementation is able to help most people with resolving iron-deficiency anemia. However, it is always best to try and achieve optimal iron intake through food when possible in order to avoid iron overdose and to maintain a health, well-rounded diet. Not only is iron found naturally in many sources of food but it is also added to some food products as well.
Dietary iron is available in two forms: heme and nonheme . Heme iron tends to be found in meat, poultry, and seafood whereas nonheme iron generally comes from plant-based products, whole grains and iron-fortified foods. Heme iron is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, however those who consume more non-heme iron foods can use Vitamin C in order for their bodies to absorb it more easily.
The following sources of food contain a high amount of iron and can be incorporated into a healthy diet to reduce the risk of experiencing iron-deficiency anemia:
- Seafood: Clams, mussels, oysters, sardines, tuna, shrimp
- Red meat: Beef liver, ground beef, chuck roast, lamb
- Poultry: Chicken liver, chicken, turkey, eggs
- Grains: Fortified cereal, oats, bread, rice, quinoa
- Beans: White beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans
- Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, green peas, soy
- Root vegetables: Potatoes, beets, turnips, squash, zucchini
- Nuts: Cashews, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, macadamia nuts
- Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp, flaxseeds
- Greens: Spinach, watercress, kale, broccoli
Who Should Consider Supplementing Iron Intake?
Anemia is more common in some people than the other, not because they have a grand health issue, but because of their current condition, there might be a need to supplement iron intake in other to strike the balance needed to maintain a healthy state of life. Some of the people in this category are as follows:
Dialysis Patients: Erythropoietin is a hormone associated with the production of red blood cells. In situations when the kidney is not functioning very well, resulting in dialysis, the secretion of erythropoietin is also affected. Some of the medications taking by patients suffering from one form of kidney disease or the other are also associated with iron depletion. It is important that you talk to your doctor about the plans to maintain a balance of iron availability to your body system
Iron Depleting Drugs: Drugs are capable of interacting with one another. If you’re on a drug that is known for depleting the availability of iron in the body system, supplementation of iron is inevitable. It is best to consult with your doctor and ensure that the medication you’re taking is actually depleting the availability of iron to your body system before you go ahead in supplementing.
Pregnant Women: This category of people require more iron intake on daily basis. According to the National Institutes of Health, they require roughly 50% more iron than the recommended daily intake for those who aren’t pregnant. Caution should be applied when supplementing your iron intake. It is advisable to talk to your doctor about your condition before making a conclusion on whether you need more iron or not.
Babies: Usually, babies have enough Iron to sustain them for the first six months of life after birth. In some condition, however, a need for supplementation might arise. Premature babies are generally known to need iron supplementation, and it is advisable that parents of such a child get an iron-fortified baby food. Pediatricians are always in the best position to advice appropriately.
Heavy Blood Loss: This is quite common in cases of heavy menstrual flow or accident resulting into excessive blood loss. In cases like this, there is a need for the rapid production of red blood cells. Since hemoglobin availability is directly connected to the production of red blood cells, enough iron is needed to keep the supply of hemoglobin high. It is important to supplement the intake of iron through supplements in conditions like this.
The best iron supplement must not only provide you with the sufficient amount of iron required to avert your anemic condition and restore you to normal health. It as well ought to be bioavailable and come with fewer side effects. We have taken these conditions into consideration by selecting the top 5 iron supplements for anemia.