Should You Take An Iron Supplement?
Iron is a necessary mineral that our bodies need to deliver oxygen to all of the cells in our body. We need to have adequate stores of this mineral in order to be healthy. Too little and we are at risk of becoming anemic, too much and we risk having iron toxicity; which can be deadly. Some side effects of iron deficiency include fatigue, pale skin complexion, irritability and in women, fewer or no menstrual periods (1). The amount we need varies depending on our age, sex and whether or not we are currently pregnant or breast feeding. Men need less than women since they do not loose blood every month like women do when they have their periods. Pregnant women need more because their blood volume doubles while pregnant. There is a fine line in pregnancy though, since too much iron can cause issues with the health of the baby’s placenta (2). Most people do not consume an adequate amount of iron from the foods they eat because our modern diets are severely lacking in nutrients. But this can be prevented by eating a clean healthy diet, which contains lots of leafy greens as well as the other foods groups. Even vegetarians or vegans can get adequate iron as long as they focus on eating plant foods that are high in iron. People can also make sure they get enough iron by cooking their foods in cast iron cookware. But there are concerns with cast iron cook wear not providing the right type of iron that people need.