When should you supplement iron? Top 13 priority groups to consider

by Johnny Jacks
Iron is a vital nutrient that plays many important roles in keeping the body healthy and energized. So, when do you need to supplement iron? Who are the people who should prioritize taking iron and what should they pay attention to when taking it? Follow goodheathplan article below for detailed information!

Answering when to supplement iron:

Low levels of iron can make you feel tired, less focused, and more prone to illness. Supplementing with iron is an effective way to quickly remedy this condition when dietary adjustments are not successful.

Answer when to supplement iron.

Answer when to supplement iron.

Below are 13 priority groups that you should pay attention to when supplementing iron:

  1. Pregnant women: Many studies have shown that during pregnancy, women’s bodies need double the amount of iron compared to normal individuals. The reason is that during this period, the woman’s body needs more iron to produce blood and provide oxygen for both the mother and the fetus.
  2. Infants and young children: Although most newborns receive enough iron from the stores in their body during the first 4 months of life, iron deficiency anemia in this age group is still a concern, especially for premature infants and those who are not fully breastfed. Iron supplements for this age group can be provided in the form of iron drugs or food through breast milk.
  3. Women during menstruation: Depending on the number of days of menstruation, the anemia status in each woman will vary. Typically, women lose about 50-80ml of blood during menstruation. Iron supplementation during menstruation will help women avoid anemia and fatigue during those “red light” days.
  4. Individuals with chronic gastrointestinal bleeding: When is iron supplementation needed? Individuals with chronic gastrointestinal bleeding are definitely one of the priority groups. Some people with gastrointestinal bleeding in the small intestine, stomach, or colon are also at risk of iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements should also be considered in these cases.
  5. Vegetarians or vegans: Cutting back on meat, fish, and some animal-derived foods can lead to iron deficiency anemia for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. To ensure health, in addition to supplementing with iron-rich plant-based foods such as green leafy vegetables, cereals, pumpkin seeds, various types of beans, iron supplements can also be considered in this case.
  6. Regular blood donors may experience iron deficiency, especially when donating blood frequently. If you are in this group, you should pay attention to your health by closely monitoring your condition after donating blood and taking timely iron supplements to avoid affecting your overall health.
  7. When to supplement iron? – People who have had stomach surgery: Those who have had stomach cancer, ulcers, benign stomach tumors, or stomach perforations often undergo surgery to remove part or all of their stomachs. Depending on the size of the stomach removed, the severity of post-treatment side effects may vary among individuals, but iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies are very common and often appear a few years after stomach surgery. The best way to remedy this is to strictly follow a nutritional regimen recommended by dietitians, supplement iron supplements, and receive vitamin B12 injections if necessary.
  8. Local cardiac anemia: This is a dangerous cardiovascular disease that can affect the patient’s life. The best way to prevent it is to establish a scientific diet, exercise, and relaxation regimen, supplementing the body with sufficient necessary nutrients, including iron, to ensure normal body function.
  9. People using iron absorption inhibitors: Some types of acid-reducing drugs in the stomach also have certain effects on the ability to absorb iron from food. Supplementing iron supplements will help patients reduce the risk of anemia due to iron deficiency. This is called exercise-induced anemia, which leads to a decrease in red blood cells in the body, causing headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg pain, and tongue soreness.
  10. Inherited anemia: Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia are anemic diseases related to genetics that cause many dangerous complications. This is also one of the main groups that need to consider supplementing iron along with disease treatment.
  11. Alcohol addicts: Alcohol abuse affects our health in many ways, not only affecting the liver, bones, and brain but also causing a sharp decrease in hematocrit, leading to anemia. In addition to adjusting a scientific lifestyle and limiting the amount of alcohol in the body, iron supplements also play an important role in improving the symptoms caused by alcohol addiction, such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
  12. People who exercise with high intensity: Exercise regimes, high-intensity sports, if not balanced with a nutritional regimen…
READ MORE:  Breaststroke Techniques – A Guide to Self-Taught Properly – Easy to Do

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency is quite common. If not treated promptly, it can lead to anemia, iron deficiency, and cause some health problems such as:

Iron deficiency anemia makes you tired, pale skin.

Iron deficiency anemia makes you tired, pale skin.

  • Pale, dull skin: This is one of the common signs that your body is severely lacking in iron, as the low levels of iron in your body can make your skin appear less rosy. This condition can appear all over the body or concentrate in certain areas such as the face, eyelids, nails, or lips.
  • Shortness of breath, rapid breathing: The reduced amount of oxygen in the blood makes it difficult for muscles to receive enough oxygen to perform normal body functions. At this point, the breathing rate must increase to take in more oxygen, which can lead to rapid breathing and shortness of breath.
  • Fatigue, lack of energy: Since the body is not receiving enough oxygen to meet the demands of the organs, they have to work harder, leading to fatigue, exhaustion, and lack of energy.
  • Easy hair loss, brittle nails: Insufficient iron levels mean that the body cannot supply enough oxygen to the hair, nails, and skin, leading to weak, brittle hair and nails that are prone to breakage.
  • Dizziness, headaches, and vision problems: Iron deficiency can cause anemia, affecting the hemoglobin levels in red blood cells. This makes them unable to pump enough oxygen to the brain, causing the blood vessels to swell and resulting in headaches, dizziness, and vision problems. This can affect the patient’s ability to concentrate and impact their work performance.
  •  Rapid heartbeat and chest pounding: As previously mentioned, when the body is lacking in iron, organs must work harder to transport oxygen, most notably the heart. Irregular heartbeat, if left undetected and untreated, can lead to heart failure, pulmonary edema, and ultimately endanger the patient’s life.
READ MORE:  Bonidiabet is medicine or functional food?
  • Swollen and painful mouth and tongue: Iron deficiency can also cause low myoglobin levels, which can lead to tongue and muscle pain, as well as swelling and discomfort in the mouth.

Testing to determine when iron supplementation is necessary

Iron deficiency can occur before signs of anemia appear, so a person may be diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia or iron deficiency without anemia. Before specific tests are ordered, doctors typically rely on medical history, physical examination, and blood tests.

The test determines when iron supplements are needed.

The test determines when iron supplements are needed.

There are two tests that can help evaluate iron deficiency: complete blood count (CBC) and iron assessment tests.

Complete Blood Count (CBC):

CBC is the most basic blood test that determines the components of blood and helps identify anemia and iron deficiency (if present). If there is an iron deficiency, the test will show a decrease in the results of HGB (hemoglobin), RBC (red blood cell count), CBC (hematocrit), and MCV (mean corpuscular volume).

Iron Assessment Tests:

These tests are important to determine when iron supplementation is needed. Some tests that a doctor may recommend include:

Serum Iron: This test determines the amount of circulating iron in the blood. The results of this test can be influenced by meals before the test or iron supplements.

Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC)/Transferrin: This test measures the amount of protein in the blood that can transport iron to storage organs or red blood cells.

Transferrin Saturation: This test determines the ratio of serum iron to TIBC.

Serum Ferritin: This test measures a type of storage protein found in the liver and spleen. The normal range for serum ferritin is between 30-300 ng/mL. Serum ferritin <12 ng/mL is a specific indicator of iron deficiency anemia.

Recommendations from reputable organizations published in the National Library of Medicine suggest that individuals without a history of low iron levels should check their iron levels annually. For those currently taking iron supplements to treat iron deficiency, they should wait at least 3 months after starting treatment before rechecking hemoglobin and ferritin levels. Depending on an individual’s condition, the doctor will consider the most appropriate time for periodic screening.

READ MORE:  Does jumping rope increase height: Will the truth be like rumors?

What should you keep in mind when supplementing iron properly?

Although iron deficiency and anemia are very common, it is not advisable to supplement iron arbitrarily, especially from iron pills. Some small notes below will help you supplement iron safely and effectively:

Timing of intake: When is the best time to take iron is a common concern of many readers. Depending on each individual, the timing of iron supplement intake may vary, usually 30 minutes before eating or 1-2 hours after eating.

Iron supplement dosage: Each individual will have different iron needs.

User group

Recommended Iron Content

Children 0-6 months old


Babies 7-12 months old


Children 1-3 years old


Children 4-8 years old


Children from 9-13 years old


Teenage boys 14-18 years old


Teenage girls 14-18 years old


Adult male between 19-50 years old


Adult female 19-50 years old


People 51 years and older


Pregnant women


Women who are breastfeeding


Some types of food to avoid: To avoid reducing the effectiveness and absorption of iron supplements, you should avoid consuming them with calcium. Additionally, you should also limit drinking milk or tea after taking iron supplements.

Diversify food sources: Iron supplements are necessary, but natural sources of iron from food are also crucial as they contain essential nutrient groups that help keep the body healthy and ensure the smooth functioning of organs.

How to supplement iron from natural food sources?

So, we have answered the question of when to supplement iron and provided some tips on taking iron supplements. However, no matter how you supplement iron supplements, they cannot replace iron from natural food sources, such as:

Iron rich foods.

Iron rich foods.

Various types of beans, including green beans, lentils, soybeans, and tofu, are excellent sources of iron. For a nutritious boost of iron, whole grain and cereal breads, as well as oatmeal and wheat bran, are smart choices.

Leafy greens, such as 100g of spinach containing 2.7mg of iron (meeting about 15% of the body’s iron needs), are also great options. In addition to spinach, broccoli is an excellent choice, providing 6% of the body’s iron needs with 156g cooked…

Other foods, such as fish, clams, oysters, and mussels, are also sources of iron that you should consider adding to your family’s diet.

We hope this information on when to supplement iron has been helpful in building a well-rounded, nutritious meal plan for you and your family. For more updated information on nutrition and other interesting topics, visit Monkey’s website daily to accumulate useful and exciting knowledge.

Related Posts