by Will Grumke January 04, 2021 4 min read
With all of the vitamins and minerals in the world, which ones are the most important?
I think that is a very broad question, and quite honestly, very hard to answer.
However, I will say that iron is a mineral that is essential and necessary to allow us to live an overall healthy life.
Iron plays a key role in the production of red blood cells. These red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. This oxygen is important for all of our cellular function and organ function.
When we're low on iron, we can run into a condition called “anemia”. This happens when we have a low red blood cell count, since our body doesn’t have enough iron to produce them. In turn, this will lower our ability to transport oxygen throughout our body.
So, how concerned should you be with having low levels of iron? The good news is, most Americans consume enough iron in the foods they eat.
As I mentioned above, anemia, or being anemic, is a specific instance where we would supplement iron.
When someone is anemic, they can suffer from fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, cold hands or feet, and more.
If you feel like you have any of these signs, your first step is to consult your physician.
Do not take matters into your own hands without talking to a health professional first ... but many times, this is when an iron supplement would be used.
These can be situations where someone is pregnant, experienced a heavy loss of blood, or is just lacking in iron-rich foods.
Also, if someone is living a strictly vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, that may be a situation where iron supplementation is beneficial.
If you are going to supplement iron daily, after talking to your physician, there are some general recommendations from the RDA. These numbers are for the food you eat and any supplements you may take.
· 19-50 years old – 18 mg/day
· 51 years and older – 8 mg/day
· Breastfeeding (19 years or older) – 9 mg/day
· Pregnant – 27 mg/day
· 19 years and older – 8 mg per day
As I mentioned before, many Americans do consume enough iron through their daily diet. This means supplementing with iron may not be necessary at all.
The most common foods that contain iron are:
· Red Meats
· Spinach (Leafy Green Veggies)
· Fortified Foods (Cereals, etc.)
· Dried Fruit
If your regular diet is high in the foods above, then it is very likely you are consuming a sufficient amount of iron daily.
I also want to touch base on the fact that there is a difference in iron from animal sources and plant sources. Animal sources of iron, or heme iron, are more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron.
There are specific supplements out there for just increasing your iron levels, as well as others that incorporate iron, in addition to having other benefits.
If you are looking for a supplement for overall health, and filling some of the gaps you may have in your nutrition, I would recommend Micro Factor.
Each serving of Micro Factor carries 4 mg of iron, which will roughly cover 22% of your daily intake, while also helping in so many other ways.
Micro Factor has a multivitamin, probiotic, fruits and veggie blend, CoQ10, antioxidant, and essential fatty acid complex. These will not only help fill the micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) gaps in your diet, but also help with:
· Hormone Production
· Gut health
· Regulate Free Radicals
For women that are currently looking for a supplement that is higher in iron, I would look into our Prenatal Plus, even if you are not currently pregnant.
Prenatal Plus has 18 mg of Iron, along with being a fantastic multi-vitamin for making sure you are getting all of the micronutrients you need.
Remember, you should always talk with your doctor before you take iron to treat any conditions. Also, there can be negative effects to taking in too much iron daily.
The most common side effect of iron is an upset stomach, nausea, and constipation. When you are consuming too much iron, it can back things up and cause some serious discomfort.
Iron, at very high doses, can be toxic. The upper limit of iron for adults is 45 mg a day.
Obviously, if you are experiencing any issues with the higher daily intake, you would want to cut it back down and talk with your doctor.
So, while iron is relatively safe, and definitely a necessity for our health and overall bodily function, it can be helpful to take these side effects into account when considering iron supplementation.
Remember, try to get the iron you need through whole food options first.
Now, I understand that is not always the easiest task, so that is when we can look toward “supplementing” our plan.
So, if you have any questions, please reach out to our Customer Loyalty Team here at 1st Phorm. We would be more than happy to answer any questions for you and get you moving in the right direction!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer