How To Choose Iron Supplements

Iron deficiencies are a common problem, particularly among women who are menstruating or pregnant. If you have some of the symptoms of iron deficiency, which include fatigue, paleness and breathlessness, talk to your physician to see if adding iron supplements to your diet might help you feel better. If so, here are some tips to help you choose the right formulation:

    1. Browse the shelves at your local drugstore to see the range of options you have. Understand that higher priced iron supplements that are marketed as 'natural' may not add anything different than the less expensive brands.

  1. Understand that there are a many different dosage forms of iron supplements. These include Ferrous Fumarate, Ferrous Gluconate, Ferrous Sulfate and Iron-Polysaccharide.
  2. Decide if you prefer to take capsules, tablets or a liquid version.
  3. Ask your doctor for recommendations on what would be a good choice for your needs.
  4. Talk to your doctor about other medications that you take, including antacids, since these could interfere with the absorption of iron supplements.
  5. Seek advice from your pharmacist if you have questions about different brands and formulations.
  6. Read the Daily Values (DVs) on the supplement label to find out the percent of the recommended daily amount of iron that is provided in one serving.
  7. Check the expiration date to be sure the supplements are fresh.
  8. Be sure that the bottle you choose is sealed.
  9. Select a childproof cap since an iron overdose can be extremely dangerous for youngsters.
  10. Consider your special needs if you are pregnant or breastfeeding when selecting a supplement.
  11. If you experience nausea as a result of taking a prenatal vitamin or supplement that is high in iron, talk to your ob-gyn about trying an alternative.
  12. Whatever supplement you choose, be sure to take it correctly. Iron should be taken on an empty stomach with a glass or water or juice either one hour before meals or two hours after.
  13. If your iron supplement upsets your stomach, try taking it with food instead and see if this helps.
  14. Follow the dosage directions on the bottle.
  15. Be aware that some liquid forms of iron can stain your teeth, so if you must take a liquid, try mixing it with water or juice and sucking it with a straw.
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