Iron supplementation

Iron supplementation

The cause of the iron deficiency needs to be found for adequate treatment: iron supplements only target the correction of iron deficiency.

Mild to moderate iron deficiency anemia is treated by oral iron supplementation with ferrous sulphate, ferrous fumarate, or ferrous gluconate.

These oral iron supplements are usually best absorbed from an otherwise empty stomach. The stomach upset can be alleviated by taking the iron with food; however, this decreases the amount of iron absorbed. Vitamin C aids in the body's ability to absorb iron, so taking oral iron supplements with orange juice is of benefit.

When taking iron supplements, it is very common to experience gastrointestinal problem, especially constipation and/or darkening of the feces. Children are at risk for iron intoxications: ferro supplements may not exceed 6mg/kg/day.

Iron supplements need to be taken for several months or longer to replenish the iron reserves. Pregnant women are routinely checked for their Hb levels and take prescription iron supplements for the duration of their pregnancy if necessary.