Iron Supplements

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Question

How do I choose between iron supplements?

Answer

Choosing between iron supplements can be a big decision because the amount varies depending on how much iron your body requires. Iron supplement dosages that may work for one person may be too much or too little for another. Your body requires just the right amount of iron. If you have too little, you can develop anemia from an iron deficiency. Potential causes of anemia include poor diet, blood loss, or an inability to absorb enough iron from food.

Having too little iron is a problem, but having too much iron can also be toxic to your body. If you take too many iron supplements, you lead to iron poisoning. For some people with the inherited disease hemochromatosis iron poisoning is harder to avoid because hemochromatosis causes too much iron to build up.

If you think you have an iron deficiency, you need to see a doctor or healthcare provider for proper treatment. Treatments may differ depending on factors like health, age and overall cause of the iron deficiency. Your doctor can diagnose an iron deficiency with blood tests like a Hemoglobin (measures hemoglobin in your blood) or Hematocrit (measures the percentage of red blood cells in your blood) test, but no single test can diagnose it.

Read more about iron deficiencies in our Health Encyclopedia.

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