Importance of Iron
Iron is essential for human health as it helps in the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron also plays a role in several important metabolic processes, such as energy production and DNA synthesis. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, fatigue, and decreased immunity. Women and children are the sections of the population that need a high level of iron content. A therapeutic need is formed when there is an insufficient supply or excessive loss of iron in the human body. The cognitive function and development of the brain are facilitated by the maintenance of the proper level of iron in the hemoglobin. If there is an iron deficiency, then supplements or medication should be given to the individual to restore the right amount of iron to avoid the risk of Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
Iron Deficiency Anaemia
Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) is a condition characterized by a decrease in red blood cells and a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin due to a lack of iron in the body. This results in a reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen, causing fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.
IDA is the most common type of anemia and is often caused by inadequate iron intake, blood loss, or poor absorption of iron in the body. The child-bearing age or pregnancy period of a woman or the growing age of children are considered to be the physiological conditions in which the organism is in an increased requirement of iron content. Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) can especially prove to be fatal in these physiological conditions. It can be treated with dietary changes, iron supplements, or other treatments depending on the underlying cause.
The changes in zinc erythrocyte protoporphyrin, transferrin saturation, Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH), Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), and hemoglobin content can be detected as a result of the depletion in the storage of iron in the body. The insufficient storage to compensate for the demands of an organism due to the low bioavailability of the sources of iron in the body due to the less availability of the metal is caused by Iron Deficiency Anaemia. Half of the total anemia cases across the globe are considered to be driven by the cause of Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
Causes of Iron Deficiency Anaemia
- Iron supplementation is required as a medication for the diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency anemia. As a preventive measure, an individual can choose iron-rich foods which can reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
- Pregnancy, inability to absorb iron, a lack of iron in an individual’s diet and blood loss are some of the causes of iron deficiency anemia. The reduction of hemoglobin which is the part of red blood cells which is responsible for giving blood its red color and enabling it to carry oxygen to the tissues of an individual’s body is the main pathology of Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding which can be a cause of iron deficiency anemia through blood loss.
- Colorectal cancer or colon polyp, hiatal hernia, and peptic ulcer are some conditions causing chronic blood loss within the body which can cause iron deficiency anemia through blood loss. Iron-rich food which includes iron-fortified foods, leafy green vegetables, eggs, and meat can be included in the diet to fight iron deficiency anemia.
- Other causes of IDA can be pregnancy, excessive blood loss during menstruation, internal bleeding due to stomach ulcers and polyps, endometriosis, and genetic condition like celiac disease.
Risk Factors of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron stores might be depleted at a very high rate for people who routinely donate blood which might increase the risk of anemia arising from a deficiency of iron. By including more food with high iron content in the regular diet, low hemoglobin related to blood donation can be remedied, as it is a temporary problem. Anemia due to the deficiency of iron is highly likely to happen to infants, especially those who are born prematurely or with low birth weight and don’t get enough iron from formula or breast milk. Here is a brief discussion:
Women: especially those with heavy menstrual bleeding.
Infants and children: during periods of rapid growth and development.
Vegetarians and vegans: who don’t consume enough iron from animal-based foods.
Pregnant women: due to increased iron requirements for both the mother and the growing fetus.
People with chronic diseases: such as ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Elderly people: who are more likely to have reduced absorption of iron in their digestive tract.
Individuals who donate blood frequently: as repeated blood loss can cause IDA.
People who take medication that interferes with iron absorption, such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors.
Although serious complications are not caused due to anemia caused by mild iron deficiency, critical conditions might be caused and give rise to health problems if anemia caused by Iron deficiency is left untreated. Delayed development and growth can be seen due to severe iron deficiency anemia in children and infants.
And increased susceptibility to infection has been associated with the effect of iron deficiency anemia with further research. Low birth weight babies and premature birds have been linked to the effects of iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women. As part of prenatal care in pregnant women, this condition or problem during pregnancy is preventable by providing iron supplements to restore the iron stores of the body rapidly.
Ferrous Glycine Sulphate
The human body needs proteins for the growth and maintenance of tissues and for making important substances such as enzymes and hormones which are created by glycine which is an amino acid. Protein-rich foods and dietary supplements are sources of amino acids other than natural ones.
When added to a supplement, glycine provides additional protein to the human body. Ferrous glycine sulphate is a supplement of iron given to patients suffering from anemia caused due to lack of iron in the body.
Ferrous glycine sulphate has a combination of iron and glycine molecules which helps to restore the iron content in the human body as well as provides proteins to build up the immunity power to recover at a faster rate. Ferrous glycine sulphate should only be used as per recommendation by a doctor or a medical expert. The dosing regimen, the size of iron stores, the amount that has been administered, and the form of salt highly affect and determine the efficiency of absorption of iron supplements to the human body.
Excess iron supplementation might lead to acute iron overdose. This can be divided into four stages of an iron overdose. The principal symptoms of the first stage which occur up to 6 hours after ingestion are diarrhea and vomiting. Ranging from lethargy to, other symptoms of the first stage of acute iron overdose include CNS depression, tachycardia, and hypotension.
Characterized by a temporary remission the second phase may occur ranging from 6 to 24 hours after ingestion. Gastrointestinal symptoms recur accompanied by pulmonary edema, renal failure, hypoglycemia, hepatic jaundice, necrosis, coma, metabolic acidosis, and shock in the third phase.
- Do people with low iron levels always have anemia?
After reaching a certain threshold in terms of levels of hemoglobin iron deficiency anemia is diagnosed in adults. Unless that happens iron deficiency anemia is not suspected. A value less than 12.0 gm/dl is considered for women and a value list than 13.5 gm/dl is considered for adult men in case of diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia.
- What can cause low iron?
Pregnancy, chronic blood loss, and lack of iron content in an individual’s diet are the common causes for which an individual might be diagnosed with iron deficiency. The inability to absorb iron from the diet can also lead to iron deficiency. In that case, the iron injections should be administered for the treatment purposes of the patients, when the oral methods become ineffective. However, most of the time, iron deficiency is treated with iron supplementation or by setting up a diet plan which includes iron-rich food.
- How can I raise my iron levels quickly?
Taking iron supplements that have been administered intravenously or taking iron orally along with Vitamin C supplementation is often the quickest way to replenish the iron stores of the individual’s body who has been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. The Red Blood Cells are responsible for taking and carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body, which requires the production of hemoglobin in the red blood cells caused by the presence of iron stores in the human body.
- Do people with low iron levels always have anemia?
After reaching a certain threshold in terms of levels of hemoglobin iron deficiency and anemia are diagnosed in adults. Unless that happens iron deficiency anemia is not suspected. A value less than 12.0 gm/dl is considered for women and a value list than 13.5 gm/dl is considered for adult men in case of diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia.
- Can the intake of supplements stop after iron levels are restored to normal?
Even if the level of iron in the blood is restored to normal after a couple of weeks, to restore the iron levels in the bone marrow, it is important to consistently take the supplement for at least another 6 months. A consultation with the doctor is required before stopping the intake of iron supplements.
- What is the most effective way of supplementing iron?
Supplementing iron is generally done orally through tablets or syrups. Oral supplements generally work best when it contains ferrous sulphate. When ferrous sulphate is mixed with glycine, it provides protein for the quicker and more efficient recovery of the body. Thus, doctors generally recommend the use of ferrous glycine sulphate as an iron supplement for quick and effective restoration of the iron stores in the human body.
- What are the side effects of ferrous glycine sulphate?
There are no such major cases of side effects causing trouble while taking ferrous glycine sulphate as an iron supplement. However, if there are any symptoms of any side effects, one must consult a medical expert or a doctor.