One of the first posts I wrote on this blog was about my ‘battle’ with low iron levels and anaemia. Finding the best iron supplements has been a quest of mine because of this.
When I got the opportunity to try out some Dr Vegan Supplements including their Gentle Iron & Vitamin C supplement, I thought now was a great time to update this post.
Back in 2012, there was a period where I had been unwell for months! I’d had the worse case of sinusitis, ever, which took just under 3 weeks to clear up. I then got a cough which lingered for 3 more weeks followed by a sore throat which just didn’t want to go away.
After around 6 weeks of being unwell, I paid the Doctor a visit. She informed me that my illness was viral and I would just have to let it take its course and go away.
She did however say that 6 weeks was a long time to be ill and maybe I had an iron deficiency which was hampering my recovery. I started taking an iron supplement and it felt like magic – I started feeling so much better in what felt like no time at all.
Why Do We Need Iron?
Iron is an important component of haemogloblin (the protein which transports oxygen around your body). Low irons levels can therefore lead to feeling lethargic and tired, which can reduce your motivation to get out of bed, let alone exercise and is one of the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world.
Dosage For Iron Supplements
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for women is almost 50% higher than that for males, and it is possible to achieve your RDA on a normal healthy diet.
However, women who lose a lot of blood during their monthly period (heavy periods) are at higher risk of iron deficiency and may need to take iron supplements.
The Recommended Daily Allowances are:
- 14.8mg a day for women aged 19 to 50
- 8.7mg a day for men over 18
- 8.7mg a day for women over 50
(RDA’s taken from NHS, 2021)
Dr Vegan Gentle Iron & Vitamin C Supplement
Although I’ve never professed to be the queen of sustainability, I do try to do my part. So the fact that Dr Vegan products are delivered in biodegradable and recyclable packaging, stands out.
You also get a free refillable Pill Tin with your first order to keep your pills organised. And like many brands these days, you can create a subscription and have your vitamins and minerals delivered monthly so you don’t run out. This subscription can be cancelled, paused or rescheduled at any time.
The dosage for this iron supplement is 1 capsule per day, with food. I like to take mine with breakfast. It’s vegan, lactose free, easy to swallow and kind on your stomach.
Each Dr Vegan Gentle Iron & Vitamin C capsule contains 18mg of Iron along with 80mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to enhance iron absorption and help to negate the inhibiting effects of foods such as tea and calcium (more on this below).
There are a number of side effects that can be caused by taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron. These include constipation, nausea and stomach pain. I’ve not experienced any of these when taking the Dr Vegan supplement.
Alternatives To Iron Supplements
Of course alternatives to iron supplements include foods rich in iron such as those listed below.
- dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress, spinach and curly kale
- iron-fortified bread
- fortified breakfast cereals
- red meat
- apricots, including dried variety
- soy bean flour
There are also foods which make it harder for your body to absorb iron. These may include:
- tea and coffee
- wholegrain cereals
- calcium, found in dairy products such as milk
- antacids (medication to help relieve indigestion)
After the events of the last year or so, I’ve been doing everything I can to keep well and keep active. I focus on the basics – getting good sleep, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and taking my vitamins.
If you need specific medical advice then it’s best you speak to your GP or a Nutritionist. Otherwise, I’ve found it handy to support my body with an iron supplement as well as trying to eat a varied and colourful diet.