Types of iron supplements explained

Types of iron supplements

by EvelynGiggles under CC BY


Before buying, it helps to know the different types of iron supplements to supply your body with the right type. While this nutrient is in abundant supply, ironically it is one mineral deficiency in the body that most people need to address. Knowing the best Ferrum nutrient for your body can effectively correct any deficiency.

The body needs the right amount of Ferrum to ensure the optimal functioning of enzymes and proteins. Most of iron in your body helps the proteins in your red blood carry oxygen and distribute it in your tissues and muscles, and other places in the body important to maintaining your good health.

A lack of iron can trigger anemia. Symptoms include the following: listlessness and low energy, weight loss, dizziness and irritability, shortness of breath, and headaches. Female and children are at greater risk for Ferrum deficiencies than men. So some of us must take iron supplements for anemia prevention.

However, male can suffer from lack of iron specifically those who: run long distances, donate blood often, suffer from intestinal bleeding, have digestive disorders whereby their intestines have difficulty absorbing dietary nutrients, or are strictly vegetarians or vegans.

They generally come in two types: One is the ferrous form, and the other type is the ferric form of iron supplements. Between the two, the ferrous form is the type that is most commonly prescribed and the one that the body absorbs better. Its is also known as a liquid iron supplement.

Before buying (ferrous) liquid iron, you need to know which among several available types is the best for you. The three main types are ferrous sulphate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous fumarate. The main difference among these types is the amount of consumable iron, or specifically what you may come to know as ‘elemental iron’.

The reason why the amount of ‘elemental iron’ differs is because this nutrient can upset the stomach. Some individuals may not be able to tolerate certain levels of this nutrient and, therefore, need a lower amount of ‘elemental iron’ in their supplements. The difference in the amount of the actual mineral in the supplements can help prevent oversupplying the body with iron, which can create serious side effects.

One of the best ways to prevent iron supplement side effects is to choose the right type of this nutrient. Among the three types, ferrous gluconate has the lowest level of actual iron followed by ferrous sulphate, and then ferrous fumarate.

Find the type that works best with your body to minimize two of the most common side effects of iron – constipation and upset stomach. You must also understand that the difference in the amount of actual iron in the supplement has an influence on the amount of supplement you may have to take to meet your recommended iron supplement dosage.

For instance, three pills of ferrous sulphate may be reduced to two pills of ferrous fumarate, but the latter costs more than the former. However, ferrous sulphate may be friendlier to your stomach than ferrous fumarate. The same applies with ferrous gluconate.

Compare the types of different nutrients in consultation with your physician to determine what works best for your dietary needs. For many people, liquid types of iron supplements work best.

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