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Iron supplements: when are they needed?

Taking iron supplements may be necessary in some situations. Although most people can meet their iron requirements through diet, some health conditions may require specific supplementation. Women who suffer from heavy menstruation, for example, may need additional iron to prevent the development of sideropenic anemia. Other risk factors include iron malabsorption by the gut, vegan diet or dietary fiber abuse, strenuous sports activity, and pregnancy.

Iron is found in a variety of foods, such as liver, meat, fish, and dried legumes. However, in some circumstances, supplementation may be necessary, and in these situations, supplements can provide an effective solution. Therefore, if risk factors are present, you should consult your physician or nutritional specialist to assess the need to supplement your iron requirements through specific supplements.

What are the side effects of iron supplements?

Treatment of iron deficiency depends on the underlying cause, but often includes adding iron supplements to the diet or administering iron injections. It is important to take preventive measures to avoid iron deficiency, such as adopting a diet rich in iron-containing foods and maintaining good overall health.


Iron supplements are very useful in counteracting the deficiency of this important element and are therefore an effective solution for those suffering from anemia. It is important to know that they can cause some side effects, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Dark or green stools
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cramping, pain or discomfort in the stomach

In general, drinking plenty of water and eating foods rich in fiber are recommended to prevent or relieve constipation. In addition, you can take additional supplements, such as those rich in magnesium, which contribute to bowel regularity. Finally, regarding the color of stools, there is no need to worry if they turn dark or black, as this is one of the possible side effects of iron supplements.

After how long do iron supplements take effect?

Iron supplements take some time before they begin to take effect. It may take three to six weeks of consistent intake before iron levels begin to increase. Your doctor will keep your iron levels monitored and inform you as soon as they improve. Keep in mind that the process of rebuilding iron stores can take some time. For this reason, your doctor may recommend that you continue taking iron supplements for at least six months so that your body can fully recover iron stores. Remember to always follow your doctor’s instructions and not to stop taking iron supplements without his or her consent.


Learn more about this topic by checking out the latest scientific research on PubMed

This article was originally written in Italian and translated English via deepl.com. If you notice a major error in the translation you can write to [email protected] to report it. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated

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