How Much Supplemental Iron Do Women Need?
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How Much Supplemental Iron Do Women Need?

If you find yourself often feeling fatigued or having difficulty concentrating, you might need to have your blood checked for iron deficiency.

Iron is an essential dietary mineral that is necessary to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen from the lungs to the body’s cells.

It is also an essential component of myoglobin, the protein that stores oxygen reserves in
muscle, and contributes to the development and maintenance of normal cognitive function and the immune system.

Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and nonheme.

Plants and iron-fortified foods contain nonheme iron only, whereas meat, seafood, and poultry contain both heme and nonheme iron.

Heme iron, which is formed when iron combines with protoporphyrin IX, contributes about 10% to 15% of total iron intake in western populations.

According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the world’s most common mineral deficiency.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency:

Women Iron Deficiency and Need for Supplemental Iron
1. Unusual tiredness
2. Paleness
3. Shortness of breath
4. Headaches and dizziness
5. Heart palpitations
6. Dry and damaged hair and skin
7. Soreness of the tongue and mouth
8. Restless legs
9. Brittle or spoon-shaped fingernails

Food Sources of Iron - Supplemental Iron

Good Sources of Iron:

– Red meat
– Eggs
– Poultry
– Fish
– Legumes (or beans)
– Leafy greens like spinach
– Fortified cereals

As you breathe, you take in oxygen from the air that is required by every cell in your body. How does this oxygen know to go where it’s needed? Thank iron for that!

How Much Iron Do Women Really Need?

A man’s body typically requires more amounts of most essential vitamins and minerals. This is not the case for iron.

Women need more iron than men due to their menstrual cycle. During this period, iron gets depleted as blood comes out of the body.

Iron becomes even more critical during pregnancy, as a woman’s body needs to produce more blood to support the growth of the fetus.

The 100% daily value of iron (based on a 2,000 kcal diet) is 18 mg, while the 100% daily value for pregnant or lactating women is 27 mg, effective as of January 1st, 2020.

On the other hand, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for iron in one day is 45 mg.

Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-eater, iron can be obtained from healthy food sources. However, it’s a worthwhile supplement to add to your regimen, especially if you’re a woman of childbearing age.

An iron shortfall is bad, particularly in pregnancy; but after menopause, women are less likely to require supplemental iron. That’s why multivitamins aimed at older women (as well as men) usually lack iron.

If your doctor doesn’t specifically prescribe an iron supplement, you can choose to get it from a multivitamin such as Shaklee’s Vita-Lea Women, which contains just the right amount of iron to meet your daily requirement.

Supplemental Iron: Are Iron Supplements Safe?

Iron supplementation usually comes in the form of ferrous salts such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, or ferrous gluconate. Though side effects are reported from all these forms of iron, some sources are better tolerated than others. Studies have shown ferrous fumarate to cause the fewest digestive complaints.

Diarrhea and constipation are commonly encountered by approximately 6% of patients, while 6% to 12% report nausea, vomiting, and gastric distress.

Most of these side effects are attributed to the fraction of iron that remains unabsorbed following ingestion.

As is typical for most things in life, it’s possible, in the case of iron, to get too much of a good thing. Getting more iron than you need increases your risk of free radical damage. Fortunately, a simple blood test ordered by your doctor can reveal your iron status.”

It can be low not only for dietary reasons but problems such as a bleeding ulcer. So, it’s a very good idea if you have signs of anemia to consult with your doctor and get tested.

Supplemental Iron Recommendation: Shaklee Iron Plus C Complex

Shaklee Iron Plus C
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Shaklee’s Iron Plus C Complex provides iron in a readily bioavailable form with vitamin C to help increase its absorption.

Shaklee uses ferrous fumarate instead of ferrous sulfate as their source of iron to increase bioavailability (the measure of how quickly the body absorbs the nutrient) and minimize gastrointestinal (GI) side effects.

Ferrous fumarate is a more costly ingredient, but Shaklee views the benefit of lesser discomfort for people as a worthwhile exchange.

Each tablet provides 100% of the Daily Value of iron and vitamin C.

Iron Plus C Complex supports oxygen-rich blood. You’d need to eat more than 400 grams of cooked spinach to receive the same amount of iron that’s found in one Iron Plus C Complex tablet.

Testimonial: “As someone with an anemia problem, I find that Shaklee is the only product I can comfortably use. The reason is that they use iron that is not derived from animal sources—which bind. The vitamin C also helps my body absorb the iron better.”  – E. Hull