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Iron supplement health claims: a clinical perspective

Iron is one of the most important minerals in your diet, as it plays an essential role in the production of haemoglobin, which enables your red blood cells to circulate oxygen throughout the body. Despite its importance, many Americans are somewhat iron deficient, and it’s more common in women. To address this, you may have considered taking an iron supplement. Today, we’ll overview the health claims associated with iron supplements to evaluate the benefits and health considerations.

Health Claims

Iron supplements, when you’re deficient, claim to help improve your energy levels and work to banish fatigue and tiredness throughout the day. Low iron can sometimes cause anaemia, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, leg cramps, and other disturbances in your daily health. If you think you may be anaemic, you should consult a healthcare professional before beginning any supplements, as no supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

However, for sub-clinical levels of iron deficiency, a supplement may work to decrease feelings of fatigue and even improve your ability to focus, make decisions, and solve problems (as blood-oxygen circulation is closely linked to cognition.)

Supplement Notes

When taking supplements targeted at fatigue, you’re often receiving iron in the form of a compound such as ferrous sulfate. It’s important to know that the amount of compound present in your supplement is NOT the amount of iron in the supplement, and you should always carefully consult the nutrition facts of the supplement and follow the guidance of healthcare professionals for dosing. Too much iron can cause a whole host of health problems, and it’s very important to exercise caution with iron supplements.

Over the counter supplements containing iron are generally targeted at fatigue and focus, and they may also contain vitamins such as B12 which can act in conjunction with iron to lessen your tiredness and improve well being.

Natural sources

As with most supplements, iron is also a key component in many of the foods you eat each day, and in most non-clinical cases simply adding more sources of iron to your diet can often address your symptoms adequately.

Iron is bountiful in leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as in lean meats, seafood, and plant based proteins such as tofu, beans and lentils.

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