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Last Updated on February 23, 2021

8 Benefits of Iron Supplements (With Sources Recommendations)

8 Benefits of Iron Supplements (With Sources Recommendations)

Iron is a mineral that many people hear a lot and plays a critical role in our bodies. A shortage of iron in our blood can lead to serious health problems including anemia. Iron is essentially the vitamin that is used to move oxygen in the blood and perform other processes in the body.

However, it’s also a vitamin that a lot of Americans lack—roughly 10 million have low iron levels, and 5 million of those have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia.[1]

Fortunately, with iron being such an essential vitamin, there are plenty of foods out there that contain iron. Furthermore, you can look to iron supplements which can provide you with a significant boost in iron as well.

Good Sources of Iron

According to Medical News Today, men only need 8 mg of iron per day while women need between 8 and 18 mg.[2] It doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when you consider the various foods that are available that are high in iron. Some particular foods can even provide you with excess iron you’ll need for the day in one sitting.

Some food options include:

  • Canned clams – 3 ounces provides 26 mg of iron.
  • Fortified cereal oats – 100 grams provides about 25 mg.
  • White beans – one cup gives 21 mg.
  • Dark chocolate (45-69% percent cacao) – a single bar gives 13 mg.
  • Pacific oysters (cooked) – 3 ounces gives roughly 8 mg.
  • Spinach (cooked) – one cup gives 6.5 mg.
  • Others include beef liver, boiled lentils or chickpeas, firm tofu, stewed tomatoes, lean ground beef, baked potato, and roasted cashews.

But while those are some good options, another big consideration is iron supplements. The benefit of consuming iron supplements is that they still provide you with your daily intake of iron while also covering other vitamins as well. Furthermore, it removes a lot of the guesswork of what you need to get your necessary iron intake for the day.

8 Benefits of Iron Supplements

Iron preserves many of our vital functions in our body, including things like general energy, focus, immune system, and body temperature regulation. And one of the best ways to ensure you enjoy these benefits is through the various supplements available.

Here are 8 key benefits of iron supplements and why you should consider taking them.

1. Energy

As mentioned above, iron is a good source of energy. Furthermore, a lack of energy can lead to you losing focus, becoming more irritable, and lacking stamina. You can avoid all of these things by taking iron supplements to boost the amount of iron in your body and consequently, improve your energy levels.

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2. Boost Hemoglobin

The core function of iron is to carry out oxygen through the blood. It does this by forming what’s called hemoglobin—a red blood cell protein.[3] Hemoglobin is crucial because the loss of blood can happen in many ways beyond mere injury. For example, women lose blood every month during menstrual cycles. It’s for this reason that anemia is more prominent in women as they naturally require more iron in their bodies due to the loss of blood.

3. Boost Athletic Performance

Another key role that iron performs is moving oxygen through your blood and keeping everything functional. A lack of iron will cause your muscles to strain and athletic performance to decline. Even if you’re not planning to run marathons or take on physically demanding tasks, iron does improve your endurance and, therefore, your muscles.

This is important because one of the most common links to anemia is muscle weakness.[4] Furthermore, because your muscles will be stronger, this will reduce the risk of having your tissues inflamed and cause pain through your body during exercising.

4. Reduce Bruising

Along the same lines as muscle weakness, people who bruise easily could also be suffering from low iron. Bruising happens when your internal clotting system isn’t working the way it’s intended. How this system works is thanks to the hemoglobin that affects the production and function of platelets—the cells that control blood-clotting in the first place.

If you’re someone that’s bruising often, an iron supplement can help a lot since it’ll give you the necessary iron intake you’ll need to stop it.[5]

5. Boost Concentration

I also mentioned before that iron can also affect cognitive function. A lack of iron can lead to a lack of focus as there is less oxygen that’s moving through your blood system and, therefore, your brain. You will also find a lack of iron affecting your attentiveness, too.

When taking iron supplements, research shows that our overall cognitive performance improves.[6]

6. Brain/Body Detox

Another angle that you can look at is the fact that iron enzymes—found in iron supplements—will allow the brain and body to neutralize potential toxins that our body creates. Furthermore, it can neutralize pollutants and other toxins that enter from outside, too. By taking an iron supplement, you’re essentially flushing your body of various toxins from your body and prevent them from entering.

7. Healthier Sleep

Research that was published in 2015 showed that there is a link between low iron levels and sleep issues like restless sleep, sleep apnea, and insomnia.[7] Of course, keeping your iron levels at a regular level or higher will aid significantly in your ability to sleep and to prevent those sleep conditions from occurring.

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8. Boost Immunity

The final benefit of iron supplements is that they can easily boost one’s immunity. We know already that they can flush out toxins, but iron can inadvertently fight off viruses and bad bacteria in a way.

The hemoglobin that’s formed by iron supplements also plays the role of sending oxygen to necessary parts of the body to fight diseases and infections. Things like damaged cells, tissues, and organs that are needed to fight off problems get a big boost from iron. This allows them to combat and even prevent diseases and infections long-term.[8]

5 Recommendations For Iron Supplements

Now that you know just how helpful iron supplements can be, we’ve made some suggestions for iron supplements that you should try out.

1. Natural Factors Easy Iron

    The first on our list is the Natural Factors Easy Iron. These already provide you with 20 mg of iron per tablet, making it ideal for both men and women to take.

    The selling point of this particular iron though is that it’s manufactured using a unique “Super Dispersion Technology”. What this means is that taking this supplement can mitigate some of the side effects that other iron supplements can cause, such as constipation. Paired up with the fact this is a fruit-flavored chewable tablet, this means you’ll get plenty of nutrient absorption from them.

    Click here to pick up this iron supplement.

    2. Now Foods, Double Strength

      Now Foods is our second option for iron supplements, and they make for a solid option, particularly their double strength iron supplements. There are two selling points for this iron supplement.

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      First, these iron supplements provide 36 mg per capsule which is more than enough for any person. Their regular is 18 mg usually. Second, the iron that’s used is Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate. According to the company, this means this type of iron is clinically demonstrated as iron that will have superior absorption, and the body will tolerate it better since it’s gentle and non-constipating.

      Pick up Now Food’s Double Strength iron supplements here.

      3. Solgar, Chelated Iron

        Another consideration to get your iron supplements is from Solgar’s Chelated Iron. From the start, the company offers the most tablets at 100 per bottle (Now Foods offers 90 and Natural Factor offers 60). Furthermore, they’ve ensured their supplements are Non-GMO, gluten-free, wheat and dairy-free, and kosher.

        Beyond that, these iron supplements are still easy on the stomach and offer 25 mg per tablet. These are ideal for those looking to have more iron supplements in their medicine cabinet or those who are Vegan.

        Try out Solgar’s Chelated Iron here.

        4. Thorne Research, Iron Bisglycinate

          Thorne Research’s iron supplements are more focused on the athletic types due to the creation of the iron that the company made. Their iron is specifically geared towards athletes as the particular formation of red blood cells allows someone to perform better in sports. It’s for this reason why Thorne Research’s iron supplements are NSF Certified by Sport compared to other iron supplements.

          Beyond that, these supplements provide 25 mg of iron and are made from Iron Bisglycinate, making it easy for absorption, gentler on the stomach, and is non-constipation.

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          Purchase Thorne Research’s iron supplements here.

          5. Nature’s Bounty

            The last recommendation on our list of iron supplements is Nature’s Bounty. Each tablet provides you with 28 mg of iron, and like the others on this list is made of the same gentle iron for great absorption. The unique selling point about these particular tablets goes beyond their slightly higher dosage of iron. They also contain other vitamins such as Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin C.

            Buy Nature’s Bounty’s iron supplements here.

            Final Thoughts

            Iron is an essential part of our bodies, and while there are many foods out there that provide us with good iron sources, iron supplements can sometimes be the cheaper and better alternative.

            Many iron supplements have various benefits and are a cut above other iron supplements on the market. I hope that you take the recommendations to heart and consider purchasing one of the supplements above as it removes the guesswork of whether you’ve taken in enough iron for the day.

            More About Iron Supplement

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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            Last Updated on June 9, 2021

            How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips

            How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips

            Weight loss has become a sticky subject of confusion, conflicting information and myths. Before you know it, you’re on the crash-course diet from hell and getting no-where! Sustainable weight loss is not a fad diet or program, it’s a lifestyle. With these 20 proven weight loss tips, you can lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks. Best of all, you will set yourself up for continued progress every week!

            1. The Golden Rule: Calories In vs. Calories Out

            This simple fact simply cannot be overruled – to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume.

            Use tools to help track and measure your daily intake then slowly taper down. Start with 500kcal steps or lower until you observe a consistent weekly loss.

            Never go dangerously low, eating much below 1200-1600 can stall your progress and harm your health!

            2. Set Attainable Goals And Track Your Progress

            Achieving each goal will help spur you on, so be realistic and start small. Here is an example of an easily achievable goal progression:

            • Lose weight each week
            • Lose 1-3 pounds per week
            • Lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks
            • Fit into size 30 jeans!

            3. Consider Skipping Breakfast

            Breakfast is commonly considered the most important meal of the day, however, it is not so when it comes to weight loss.

            Intermittent fasting can be a useful fat-loss tool. Restrict yourself to a smaller eating window by skipping breakfast and only eating from 12-8pm. You will reduce your daily calorie intake without restricting your lunch and dinner!

            4. Drink More Water (Especially Before Meals)

            Drinking water an hour before eating has two proven benefits for weight loss:

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            • 24-30% boost in metabolism for 1-1.5 hours after intake[1]
            • Increased chance of consuming less calories which further supports weight loss[2]

            5. Make Coffee Your New Best Friend

            Coffee has received a bad reputation in the past, however, it should be known that quality coffee is rich in antioxidants and beneficial to weight loss.

            The caffeine content will boost your body’s metabolism by up to 10%,[3] leading to a 10-29% increase in fat burning power. Take it black, with no added sugar!

            6. Make Green Tea Your Second Best Friend

            Green tea provides a milder dose of caffeine but it is abundant in wonderful catechins. These antioxidants will work with the caffeine in a perfect fat burning harmony!

            7. Always Check For Added Sugar

            Sugar has demonstrated worryingly strong links with obesity, diabetes[4] and heart disease[5] (to name a few).

            But even if you do not add it yourself, you should check the ingredients of your sauces or packaged foods. Even self-proclaimed health foods can be riddled with added sugar!

            8. Cut Out Simple Carbohydrates

            Simple/refined carbohydrates are quickly absorbed, spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels in the process.[6] As a result, you will feel hunger and cravings come back again in no time!

            Avoid all sugar or refined grains by avoiding the following foods:

            • Cookies, candy and sweets
            • Packaged cereals
            • White bread and rice
            • Cakes

            9. Scale Down Your Portion Sizes

            It pays to become aware of how much you are eating, exercise portion control and slowly scale it down.

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            Even small reductions of 10-20% are often enough to tip the balance and trigger weight loss. Try measuring your portions more carefully and don’t underestimate the power of using smaller bowls![7]

            10. Keep Healthy Food On Standby for Stacks

            The power of temptation is mighty, so why not remove it completely?

            Only keep healthy snacks within reach, then you won’t be able to binge on junk food! Here are some healthy ideas to stock your cupboard:

            • Whole fruit
            • Handful of nuts
            • Hard boiled eggs
            • Vegetables

            11. Spice Up Your Life

            Breathe new life into your dishes and reinforce your weight loss efforts with the power of cayenne pepper! Capsaicin from cayenne pepper and other spicy foods helps to ramp up metabolism and decrease appetite.[8]

            12. Top Up Your Protein Intake

            Protein rich foods not only keep you fuller for longer[9] but burn more energy during digestion. Studies have shown that swapping calories for whey protein supplements can boost weight loss whilst increasing lean muscle![10]

            Alternatively, here are a number of protein-rich food sources:

            • Lean beef
            • Skinless chicken breasts
            • Eggs
            • Salmon
            • Low-fat yogurt

            13. Balance Your Diet With Complex Carbs

            Consuming complex carbs will produce a sustained energy release and keep blood sugar levels manageable. You can easily keep hunger and cravings at bay with these nutrient dense complex carbs:

            • Vegetables
            • Fruit
            • Brown rice
            • Wholegrains
            • Beans and legumes

            14. Forget About Fast Food

            Not matter how healthy it may claim to be, fast food is almost always laden with heart-clogging trans fats,[11] excessive sugar and salt.

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            Worse yet, these meals are high in calories whilst low in nutritional value, making them a terrible choice for fuel. Before you know it, you will have broken the cardinal rule of calories in vs. calories out!

            15. Watch Out for “Hidden Calories”

            There’s no need to completely forgo your favorite condiments, just make sure you are aware of their true caloric impact. It’s easy to go overboard and negate much of your hard work!

            Go easy with the following condiments and toppings, they are surprisingly heavy in calories:

            • Mayonnaise
            • Salad dressing
            • Cream
            • Cheese
            • Butter
            • Oils

            16. Choose Low-Medium GI Foods

            High GI foods sources cause sugar levels to shoot up, the resultant spike in insulin will actually encourage dreaded fat storage![12]

            Check out the GI scale and choose low-medium GI foods. Your insulin levels will remain under control, you will feel fuller for longer and find it easier to lose weight!

            17. Opt For Weight Training Over Cardio

            Weight training burns a significant amount of calories, keeping you strong, fit and healthy in the process. It’s more effective than cardio for body recomposition as it helps preserve essential muscle mass whilst you lose weight.[13]

            Studies have also shown a significant increase in metabolic rate both during and after your workout,[14] further supporting your weight loss efforts!

            Choose a routine that uses compound lifts such as Presses, Squats and Deadlifts. These exercises recruit the largest amount of muscles per movement, ideal for maintaining lean muscle mass and trimming body fat.

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            18. Go Walking or Cycling

            Consistent small actions soon add up to big changes. For this reason, why not choose to walk or cycle whenever you can? You will burn more calories as you go about your day without the need for further diet restrictions.

            You can burn more calories as you go about your day, without any further diet restriction. If you’re physically able there is no excuse, take the stairs over escalators and lifts!

            19. Get Enough Sleep

            Sleep is highly underrated for weight loss. Forget about the 6-hour minimum claim, many of us require 8-9 hours to operate at peak efficiency.

            Both duration and quality of sleep will have a great influence on hormones that control body composition. In fact, poor sleep has shown worrying links to obesity, increasing the risk in adults by 55%![15]

            20. Be Careful Of Liquid Calories!

            We all know alcohol dehydrates and damages our liver and kidneys. But it can also thwart weight loss efforts as an unexpected source of calories.

            You may be surprised to know a beer can equate to 150kcal, 125kcal for a glass of red wine and a whopping 400Kcal for a single sweet Piña Colada! Instead, try sticking to tonic water with a slice of lime, your body will thank you!

              So there you have the 20 simple lifestyle tips that will support you in achieving healthy weight loss. Adopt as many as you can and you will easily lose 10 pounds or more in 3 weeks!

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              Featured photo credit: Lecic via shutterstock.com

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