There are certain groups of people who are at higher risk for low iron levels than others, and a good example here is vegetarians and vegans (particularly women). Iron stores will often be lower in such individuals, sometimes to the point where iron deficiency anemia symptoms begin to take place.
At Pharmics Inc., we're happy to offer the best iron supplements available for those looking to increase their iron levels for any reason. What are some of the ways vegetarians and vegans can ensure proper iron levels? This two-part blog series will go over several basic themes.
Iron in Vegetarian Foods
There are still plenty of ways for vegetarians to get iron in their food, and this boils down to knowing the two different kinds of iron found in food. Heme iron, the more readily-absorbed form, is found in animal products. Non-heme iron, which isn't as easily absorbed, is found in many plant foods.
Because of this difference in absorption, it's generally recommended that vegetarians consume 1.8 times the RDA of iron than non-vegetarians (14.8 milligrams per day for women aged 19-50, compared to the 8 milligrams per day recommended for non-vegetarians).
There are plenty of plant foods that still offer a good amount of iron, however. These include leafy greens such as spinach, lentils, tofu, tempeh, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, nuts and seeds. Consuming these foods regularly can help vegetarians get the iron they need without resorting to supplements.
For some vegetarians, however, dietary changes alone may not be enough to increase iron levels. In such cases, supplements may be necessary. Supplements are a good way to get the extra iron you need, but it's important to talk to a doctor before starting any supplement regimen, as too much iron can actually be just as harmful as too little.
The type of supplement you take is also important. Ferrous iron supplements are the most common and are generally well-tolerated, but Iron Protein Succinylate (Ferretts IPS) iron supplements may be a better option for those with sensitive stomachs.
Vitamin C and Iron
Another way to encourage iron absorption is to pair non-heme iron foods with foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb non-heme iron, so pairing foods like lentils with broccoli or Brussels sprouts can help increase iron levels.
In conclusion, vegetarians and vegans needn't worry about getting enough iron in their diets. There are plenty of plant-based foods that offer a good amount of this essential mineral, and for those who may need a little extra help, supplements are always an option.
For more on how vegetarians can ensure they get enough iron, or to learn about any of our iron supplements or other products, speak to the team at Pharmics, Inc. today.
Check with your physician before taking an iron supplement or giving an iron supplement to an infant or any child.
*WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep iron containing products out of the reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.
Statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.