Iron Pills for Low Hemoglobin
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
While low hemoglobin is one of the most common medical conditions affecting mankind and often leads to iron deficiency anemia, a large number of low hemoglobin issues can be solved by supplementary iron pills.
Here’s everything you need to know about iron pills for low hemoglobin; how iron is linked with low hemoglobin, and how iron pills can solve low hemoglobin issues.
Table of contents
- What is hemoglobin?
- Normal ranges of hemoglobin in the body
- Symptoms of low hemoglobin
- Causes of low hemoglobin
- Iron pills for low hemoglobin
- How long does it take for iron pills to show results?
- How to take iron supplements?
- Precautions and side effects
What is hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is typically a protein substance found in the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. It gives red blood cells the red color.
In addition to carrying oxygen, hemoglobin is also responsible for carrying carbon dioxide from the cells to the lungs. And then carbon dioxide is eliminated when an individual exhales.
Therefore, hemoglobin performs a vital role in the body. Low hemoglobin count in the body may affect these essential functions.
Normal ranges of hemoglobin in the body
Normal hemoglobin levels in male can range from 14.0 gm/dL to 17.5 gm/dL (gram per deciliter). In female, it may range from 12.3 gm/dL to 15.3 gm/dL.
Symptoms of low hemoglobin
Symptoms of extremely low counts of hemoglobin may include:
- Irregular and rapid heart rate
- Pale skin and gums
- Weakness in muscles
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent and unexplained brushing
Causes of low hemoglobin
Although mild low hemoglobin levels aren’t always signs of diseases, they might be normal for some individuals. Pregnant women and women with menstrual periods commonly bother low hemoglobin levels.
A low hemoglobin condition can be linked with an underlying disease that causes the body to have lesser red blood cells than normal levels. This can occur when:
- A body is producing lesser red blood cells than normal
- A body is breaking down red blood cells faster in comparison they are produced
- A body has substantial blood loss
Health conditions and diseases that cause a body to produce lesser red blood cells than usual may include:
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Cirrhosis of liver
- CKD or chronic kidney disease
- Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism
- Lead poisoning
- Leukemia or other cancers that affect the bone marrow
- Aplastic anemia
- Certain medications such as chemotherapy drugs
- Vitamin deficiency anemia
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple myeloma
Health conditions and diseases that cause a body to break down red blood cells faster in comparison they are produced may include:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Splenomegaly or enlarged spleen
A low hemoglobin condition can also be occurred because of blood loss associated with some conditions such as:
- Bleeding in the digestive tract due to ulcers, hemorrhoids, or cancer
- Menorrhagia or heavy menstrual bleeding
- Frequent blood donation
Iron pills for low hemoglobin
Iron is a mineral that’s an essential constituent of hemoglobin in the red blood cells and myoglobin in the muscle cells.
Having an iron deficiency can make it difficult for the human body to produce sufficient red blood cells and can lead to iron deficiency anemia which affects the oxygen transportation process in the body and causes serious symptoms such as trouble breathing and fatigue.
Besides, iron plays an important role in many chemical reactions in the body. Iron is also found very effective in improving learning problems and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). It helps increase immune response and sports performance. Iron is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS), canker sores, and infertility in women.
Taking iron pills as a supplement is one of the easiest as well as effective ways to increase hemoglobin levels in the body. Iron supplementation can be more effective when taken with iron-rich foods such as eggs, fish, meat, soy, broccoli, leafy vegetables, and green beans among others.
In addition, while a person with lower levels of hemoglobin is taking an iron supplement, it’s important for him or her to consider helping his or her body to absorb that iron. Vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin A can boost the amount of iron absorbed in the body.
Vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin A can also be taken as supplements or through foods rich in these ingredients.
Foods that’re rich in vitamin C
- Citrus fruits such as lemons, strawberries, oranges, and grapefruits
- Green and red peppers
- Leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, and cabbage
- Potatoes and tomatoes
Foods that’re rich in beta carotene
- Sweet potatoes
Foods that are rich in vitamin A
- kale and collards
How long does it take for iron pills to show results?
The first and foremost thing you need to understand about iron supplements is that the requirements and absorptions differ from person to person.
It may take 2 to 3 weeks or even longer of taking iron pills before they begin to work. Depending on the deficiency and requirements, it may take up to 3 months or more to show the desired results. In some cases, doctors may recommend continuing to take iron pills to ensure that the person is meeting his or her daily iron needs.
How to take iron supplements?
While considering taking iron supplements, always consult with your healthcare professional so that he or she can judge if an iron supplement is right for you and what exactly the dose should be.
The maximum dose of 45 mg a day iron supplement is considered safe for adults and children ages over 14. Pure vegetarians may require higher levels of iron. At high doses, iron supplements may produce unpleasant adverse effects on the body.
Precautions and side effects
Iron is possibly safe for most people when taken in appropriate doses. Side effects are rare and uncommon that may include gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or diarrhea, stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting.
Higher doses are likely unsafe and can be fatal in some cases especially for children. Besides, iron may interact with medications for certain health conditions. Therefore, it’s strongly suggested to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before taking iron supplements.
Disclaimer – the information in this blog post is general and intended to increase health awareness. However, it doesn’t substitute any consultations of qualified healthcare providers. Always ask your doctor before taking any iron supplement so that he or she can determine whether it can match your personal needs.