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Doctor insights on: Iron Supplements

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Dr. Jeffrey Ogden
363 Doctors shared insights

Iron Supplements (Overview)

Effective treatment for anemia is generally taking an iron supplement by mouth. Iron pills are large and difficult for some women to swallow. If so, you can usually break them in half and have one half with breakfast and the other with lunch. Drink a lot of water and eat foods that are high in fiber as iron can be constipating. You doctor may also prescribe you a stool softner.


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What kind of iron supplements should a baby be taking?

What kind of iron supplements should a baby be taking?

Let me help: Infants and toddlers need more iron than adults, in general, because their bodies are growing so quickly. In childhood, boys and girls need the same amount of iron -- 10 milligrams daily from ages 4 to 8, and 8 mg daily from ages 9 to 13. ...Read more

Dr. Jeffrey Ogden
363 Doctors shared insights

Iron Supplements (Overview)

Effective treatment for anemia is generally taking an iron supplement by mouth. Iron pills are large and difficult for some women to swallow. If so, you can usually break them in half and have one half with breakfast and the other with lunch. Drink a lot of water and eat foods that are high in fiber as iron can be constipating. You doctor may also prescribe you a stool softner.


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How important is it to take prenatals while pregnant? I used to live in europe for 18 yrs and dr would only prescribe iron supplements while pregnant

How important is it to take prenatals while pregnant? I used to live in europe for 18 yrs and dr would only prescribe iron supplements while pregnant

Folic Acid important: The most critical piece of a prenatal vitamin is the folic acid, as this reduces the risk of birth defects in the baby. I have many patients who cannot tolerate the full vitamin because of nausea who just take folate (at least 800 mcg). Iron is more important in late pregnancy when women tend to get anemia of pregnancy. ...Read more

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I started taking doctor prescribed iron supplements. How long will it take for my blood to become normal?

I started taking doctor prescribed iron supplements. How long will it take for my blood to become normal?

Several months: Iron replacements for anemia may take several months to get your iron level back to normal. Too rapid a replacement may give you GI side effects like constipation or liver irritation. Take oral iron with vitamin c to help with absorption without a heavy meal. ...Read more

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Why should senior citizens not use iron supplements? I have an elderly neighbor I care for wondering.

Why should senior citizens not use iron supplements? I have an elderly neighbor I care for wondering.

Well think of this: I don't think it's so much a LAW they NOT use iron. But personally, I don't see where it does that much good. In many cases very intrusive constipation occurs. The measurable benefits are minimal overall because it's so overused. First, we need a good diagnosis of iron deficiency that we really believe will respond to iron replacement as opposed to some other deficiency that needs fixing first. ...Read more

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What is the maximum dose os iron supplements used for treating anemia?

What is the maximum dose os iron supplements used for treating anemia?

Type: Type of iron supplement is also important. Some are harsher than others. Stick with the polysaccharide kind and avoid the sulfate. Extra vitamin c helps iron absorption, so you may not need as much. ...Read more

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My ferritin level is very low at 9 and has not changed after 3 months of high dose oral iron supplements. Are iron suppositories more effective?

My ferritin level is very low at 9 and has not changed after 3 months of high dose oral iron supplements. Are iron suppositories more effective?

Not more effective: Your situation suggests inadequate nutrition. Despite a plentiful source of iron, your body is not producing protein needed to handle it. ...Read more

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Is it safe to take iron supplements while on an antibiotic?

Is it safe to take iron supplements while on an antibiotic?

Likely yes.: Unless you have excess iron in your body, like in a disease called hemochromatosis, it is likely to be no problem taking iron supplements. In fact, a woman of your age should keep taking them to offset possible loss of iron with your menstrual cycle. ...Read more

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Hello! I am a 44year old women who has always been irregular. I have 22-79 days between periods. Is it dangerous to eat iron supplements when I'm late?

Hello! I am a 44year old women who has always been irregular. I have 22-79 days between periods. Is it dangerous to eat iron supplements when I'm late?

Not likely: If you were late due to pregnancy, you would be put on a prenatal vitamin which is iron supplemented. If you mean high-dose iron (325 mg ferrous sulfate equivalent), then that may be even more constipating and your OB may recommend lower dose during pregnancy. If not iron-deficient, may only need low-dose (multivit+iron) level to help w/menstrual bleeding, if at all. ...Read more

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Been taking iron supplements for 5 weeks, Hb increased from 9.8 to 11.7. Blood tests came back fine except RDW (27.8)being high. Should I discontinue?

Been taking iron supplements for 5 weeks, Hb increased from 9.8 to 11.7. Blood tests came back fine except RDW (27.8)being high. Should I discontinue?

Probably. Best also: Check serum Fe+2, Total Iron Binding Capacity & Ferritin as indicators of degree of adequacy of iron replacement. While too much iron over time is toxic, you also want enough intake to replace iron in RBCs lost via bleeding. Normally iron in RBCs is recycled back to bone marrow; can't do this if RBCs are lost outside body. High RDW expected due to mix of small RBCs (when Fe low) vs. Normal RBCs. ...Read more

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Any side effects to iron supplements? I have anemia & am starting 60mg of a slow release tablet of iron tonight. Anything I should know before taking?

Any side effects to iron supplements? I have anemia & am starting 60mg of a slow release tablet of iron tonight. Anything I should know before taking?

Constipation and...: Iron supplements often cause constipation and will turn your stool black. They can also cause stomach upset and occ. Diarrhea and cramping- these tend to lessen over time. But they are usually well-tolerated. Taking vit. C with them improves absorption.
The best-absorbed form of iron is actually iron bis-glycinate so you might want to try that form. ...Read more

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Can you overdose on iron supplements when you have low ferritin? What is the optimal dose of iron to take to raise ferritin significantly?

No: The gut is very inefficient at absorbing iron. So you really cannot take too much. Oral replacement takes several weeks. In a more pressing circumstance your doc could offer IV iron. ...Read more

Dr. Randy Baker
2,058 Doctors shared insights

Supplements (Definition)

A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person's diet. Some countries define dietary supplements as foods, while ...Read more


Iron (Definition)

In the metal group ...Read more