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Iron is an essential mineral that your body needs for oxygen transport and the regulation of cell growth. The best sources of iron are animal foods, such as beef, poultry and seafood. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Up until menopause, women should consume 18 milligrams per day. Pregnant women need 27 milligrams per day and lactating women need 9 milligrams per day. Men need 8 milligrams of iron per day. If you are not getting enough iron in your diet, you may need to take iron supplements. Certain factors can affect iron absorption.
Choose a ferrous iron salt supplement. Your body is able to absorb and digest these types of iron supplements more effectively.
Start with half the recommended iron dose to help your body adjust. Therapeutic doses of iron supplements can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain. Slowly building up to a therapeutic dose can help with digestion.
Take your iron supplements in two or three divided doses throughout the day. This helps your body better absorb and digest the iron.
Eat a small snack with your iron supplements to help promote their digestion and reduce side effects. Avoid eating snacks that contain calcium, which can inhibit iron absorption.
Drink orange juice with your iron supplement to help increase absorption. Vitamin C increases your body's ability to absorb iron. If orange juice isn't for you, eat or drink anything that is a good source of vitamin C, for example, bell peppers, broccoli, and kiwi.