The human body needs everything in proper proportion in order for it to function normally. There is no substitute for a mineral by another mineral, or another vitamin by another. But if the body needs more of the nutrients, and they are not being produced in the body adequately, supplements can be of help in such cases. In certain situations, the body demands more than the usual need of nutrients or minerals. During such times, supplements are consumed to make up for the extra demand. The same goes for iron, which is really important for bodily functions.
It plays an important role in human physiology. It combines with the proteins in the blood to help transport oxygen. The deficiency can lead to fatigue, and decreased immunity. But the intake of iron supplements can be tricky, as an overdose can lead to toxicity and even death. So the deficiency of iron is pretty hazardous, and proper care should be taken. Chronic inflammation, kidney diseases, excessive blood loss, auto immune diseases like arthritis etc., can lead to iron deficiency. Such conditions can aggravate the deficiency which leads on to further complications. So supplements should be taken.
Iron supplements should only be taken under proper medical guidance. They can be taken for a medical reason, or as a dietary supplement. They are taken either orally, or through parenteral therapy. The prominent oral ones are sulfate, gluconate, dextrane or carbonyl. Heme polypeptide is also an option. Another alternative is ferrous glycine sulfate or ferroglycine sulfate, has less gastrointestinal side-effects than standard preparations such as iron fumarate, but is more expensive. Parenteral therapy is used only when the oral therapies fail to cope up with the deficiency. Iron dextrane is one option, and iron saccharose is another. But these may also have side effects.
People who lose a lot of iron, who need more, and who are incapable of absorbing sufficient amounts, need supplements. But it also comes with its own set of dangers. Pregnant women, premature infants, young children or any person suffering from renal failure, as well as people who have GI disorders, may benefit from supplements. Though studies have found that iron supplementation can lead to an increase in infectious disease morbidity in areas where bacterial infections are common. So, proper care and guidance is necessary before any kind of intake.
In this world of blind races, people prefer supplements as they are the easier way out, rather than carefully select food items which fulfill their nutritional requirements. Supplements are taken by men who hit the gym regularly, without proper guidance. It can be dangerous. Though, it is a fact that people who exercise more need more intake. Especially female athletes and vegetarian athletes require larger amounts of supplements. Irregular intakes can lead to anemia. And at the end, proper follow up is a must. Still, doctors suggest obtaining iron from the primary food that we eat. If that is difficult, supplements can be of great help.