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Iron—The Misunderstood Mineral
To supplement or not to supplement with iron—do you need it or not? If so, how much, Iron is an important trace mineral that our body needs for oxygen transport (energy), cell growth, DNA synthesis, immune function and brain development. This four-letter metal really is necessary for overall health. Shockingly, the World Health Organization estimates that up to 80% of the world’s population may be iron deficient; indeed, up to 30% may have iron deficiency anemia, creating a reduction in hemoglobin production.* Consequently, these individuals may experience lack of energy, dizziness, weakness and other symptoms associated with anemia. Meanwhile, answering a few basic questions can help guide you in the right direction.


1


Is my body absorbing enough iron?
This truly depends on what kinds of foods you eat and which supplements you take. Some nutrients interfere with the absorption of iron, such as vanadium, tannins in teas, additives in soft drinks, polyphenols in coffee, phytic acid from soy isolates and oxalic acids from spinach, sweet potatoes, beans and rhurbarb. Whole grains, high-bran foods and whole-wheat baked goods are excellent sources of fiber, but iron loss during bowel movements make it difficult for your body to actually absorb iron. Consume these types of nutrients separately from iron-rich foods. Antacids consisting of calcium should be taken separately. Also, However, certain nutrients help in the absorption of iron: vitamin C (citrus fruits) and L-cysteine or cysteine-containing foods such as onions, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Enjoy these with your heme or nonheme sources of iron.
What is the RDA of iron for my age and gender?
The federal government recommends specific amounts of nutrients as a general guideline. Each individual has different needs based on various dietary concerns. Your healthcare provider can assist you in determining how much iron you need based on your age, gender and pre-existing conditions, if any.
Recommended Dietary Allowances for Iron for Infants (7 to 12 months), Children and Adult*


Age

Males
(mg/day)

Females
(mg/day)

Pregnancy
(mg/day)

Lactation
(mg/day)

7 to 12 months

11

11

N/A

N/A

1 to3 years

7

7

N/A

N/A

4 to 8 years

10

10

N/A

N/A

9 to 13 years

8

8

N/A

N/A

14 to 18 years

11

15

27

10

19 to 50 years

8

18

27

9

51+ years

8

8

N/A

N/A

What kinds of iron supplements are there?

If you and your healthcare provider determine that you need to take iron supplements, you will need to be aware of the different types of supplemental iron. Ferrous (FE II) and ferric (FE III) are the two forms of supplemental iron. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body best absorbs ferrous iron salts (fumarate, sulfate and glucarate). Ferric forms must be broken down into the ferrous form, reducing the amount of elemental iron potentially absorbed by the body. Often, physicians recommend iron for pregnant and lactating women, as well as women of childbearing age in general, depending on their specific needs. Iron supplements are contraindicated in individuals with certain pre-existing conditions. Accidental overdose of iron supplements can cause death in small children. Please use childproof bottles and keep them away from small children. The best source of iron is from plant foods. Natural sources: greens (chlorophyll), high iron fruits, dark berries.  Blood tonic is made from pure plants and no additives.


2


Ironing out your dietary need for iron
Research continues on iron’s role in immune health and cognitive development due to its assistance with neurotransmitters like dopamine. Scientists also continue to research iron’s involvement in energy enhancement among athletes. Maintaining a healthful diet and supplementing when necessary will help ensure that your are getting the right amounts of iron and other trace minerals to assist you on your journey for overall health and wellness.

 

 
   
         
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