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Iron Tablets/Supplements Uses & Possible Side Effects

Updated on June 13, 2013

This article is not intended to be of a diagnostic nature. The following article is only for educational or informative purposes. Consult your doctor before taking this medication or making any changes to drug dosage.

Iron Tablets
Iron Tablets | Source

Iron supplements are prescribed for people suffering from anemia and other iron deficiencies. Patients suffering from anemia are given iron supplements to replace the missing iron in the body and to store iron in the body. We humans require Iron as it is an essential component of proteins involved in oxygen transport. Iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to cells all over the body. Iron in the body is found in the haemoglobin of red blood cells and in the myoglobin of muscle cells. Lack of iron intake can cause anemia. For anemic patients Iron supplements have to be taken for a period of 5-8 months so that the amount of iron stored in the body returns to normal.

Who needs Iron supplements

  • People suffering from anemia
  • Women who have heavy mensuration
  • Female athletes
  • Pregnant women
  • Senior citizen
  • People suffering from Iron deficiency
  • Teenage Girls

Some studies show that Iron supplements are good for ADHD treatment but no conclusive proof is available.

What Causes Iron Deficiency

  • Inability to absorb the iron from meals.
  • Dietary deficiency or eating meals with very low iron content.
  • Body fails to store or utilize iron in the body.
  • For many women blood loss from the GI tract as well as heavy menstruation can also cause iron deficiency.

Medical Uses

Used to treat anemia and other iron deficiency diseases.

Anemia is a disease caused by low level of red blood cells in the body that can cause fatigue and other several other symptoms.

Symptoms of anemia

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Strange food cravings
  • Inflamed tongue

Anemia is a serious medical condition and should not be left untreated. Do not take iron supplements without consulting your doctor.

Side Effects

Most common Side Effects include

  • Nausea
  • Stomach ache
  • Constipation

Irregular bowel movements and constipation may occur.

  • Black stool

This side effect is perfectly normal and harmless, you can take stool softer if you wish.

  • Vomiting
  • Staining of teeth

Staining of teeth occurs on taking iron supplements in liquid form. Using a straw or switching to iron tablets can help reduce staining of teeth.

  • Acid reflex

Acid reflex or heartburn is another common side effect.

  • Intestinal ulcers

Food Rich In Iron

  • Raisins
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Apricots
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Tofu
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pea, Beans, Lentils
  • Red meat
  • Chicken, Turkey
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Ham
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Clams, Oysters
  • Caviar
  • Chocolate

Are Iron Tablets Safe For Children

High doses of iron is not recommended for children. There is a serious risk of iron poisoning in children even doses as small as 70mg can be fatal for small children.

Children below the age of 12 should be given iron supplements only when clearly needed and if prescribed by the doctor.

What Foods To Avoid While You Take Iron Supplements

  • Taking Iron along with food

For best results iron has to be taken on an empty stomach. Taking iron after meals can reduce the absorption of iron in the body but if you are experiencing side effects from taking iron supplements it is better to take the tablets after meals.

  • Coffee and tea

Coffee and tea can reduce the amount of iron the body absorbs.

  • Calcium

Taking calcium supplements or calcium rich food can reduce absorption of iron in the body.


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