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Iron

Also indexed as:Ferrous Sulfate
Iron: Main Image

Iron is an essential mineral. It is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron-deficient people tire easily in part because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized. As a result, some iron-deficient people become fatigued even when their hemoglobin levels are normal (i.e., when they are not anemic).

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Anemia and Iron Deficiency
If deficient: 100 mg daily for up to one year under medical supervision3 stars[3 stars]
Taking iron may help prevent and treat anemia; ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are the most common nutritional causes of anemia.
Depression and Iron Deficiency
See a doctor for evaluation3 stars[3 stars]
A lack of iron can make depression worse; check with a doctor to find out if you are iron deficient.
Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner 3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with iron is essential to treating iron deficiency.
Menorrhagia and Iron Deficiency
100 to 200 mg daily under medical supervision if deficient3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with iron decreases excess menstrual blood loss in iron-deficient women who have no other underlying cause for their condition.
Athletic Performance and Iron Deficiency
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Iron is a component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to muscle cells. In cases of iron deficiency, taking iron may restore levels and improve athletic performance.
Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder and Iron Deficiency
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, iron levels were significantly lower in a group of children with ADHD than in healthy children. In the case of iron deficiency, supplementing with the mineral may improve behavior.
Breast-Feeding Support and Iron Deficiency
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Iron may be required for infants with low iron stores or anemia.
Canker Sores and Iron Deficiency

Consult with your doctor

2 stars[2 stars]
Talk to your doctor to see if your recurrent canker sores might be related to iron deficiency.
Celiac Disease and Iron Deficiency
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
The malabsorption that occurs in celiac disease can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies. Supplementing with iron may correct a deficiency.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
In a double-blind trial, supplementing with iron significantly improved fatigue in women who were iron-deficient but not anemic.
Iron-Deficiency Anemia

(Vitamin A)
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Taking vitamin A and iron together has been reported to help overcome iron deficiency more effectively than iron supplements alone.
Night Blindness and Iron Deficiency
30 mg of iron and 6 mg of riboflavin per day 2 stars[2 stars]
If a person has deficiencies of iron and riboflavin, supplementing with these nutrients may increase the benefits of vitamin A.
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Iron supplementation prior to surgery was found in one trial to reduce the need for postoperative blood transfusions.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Iron requirements increase during pregnancy, making iron deficiency in pregnancy quite common. Supplementation may help prevent a deficiency.
Restless Legs Syndrome and Iron Deficiency
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
When iron deficiency is the cause of restless leg syndrome, supplementing with iron may reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Alzheimer’s Disease

(Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B6)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
A combination of coenzyme Q10, iron (sodium ferrous citrate), and vitamin B6 may improve mental status in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Cough

(For iron deficiency)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In a study of women with iron deficiency and a chronic unexplained cough, supplementation with iron for two months significantly improved symptoms.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis and Iron Deficiency
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Talk to your doctor to see if supplementing with iron can counteract the nutrient deficiency that often occurs as a result of malabsorption.
Female Infertility and Iron Deficiency
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Even subtle iron deficiencies have been tentatively linked to infertility. Women who are infertile should consult a doctor to rule out the possibility of iron deficiency
HIV and AIDS Support
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Iron deficiency is often present in HIV-positive children. Supplementing with it, under a doctor's supervision, may support immune function.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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