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For four years I was a vegetarian. I had a good diet, healthy life style (no smoking tsk tsk) but I still started to see the signs of an iron deficiency. My doctor recommended taking a supplement to replace what I wasn't able to get without sticking red meat down my throat. To Holland and Barrett I skipped…
--Why would you take it-- The only reason you would need to take an iron supplement is because you are not getting it into your diet. Now this doesn't mean going by the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), because even though it is a guideline it is also old and based on the average person. If you have a demanding lifestyle then you will need more than the average Joe (no meanness to Joe intended). The best way to make sure you don't have an iron deficiency is to check out for the signs. Symptoms can include:
Feeling Tired/being worn down
Dryness in your mouth/throat
sores in corners of mouth
Brittle nails (extreme cases)
struggling to swallow
Once an iron deficiently gets so bad it can cause something called anaemia. Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. This in turn can cause all the symptoms above and are dangerous for a person to function. When this happens the body not only needs iron to reproduce more red blood cells but also folic acid and vitamin B12 (Not just vitamin B, this is a specific vitamin). There are many different people that can have a deficiency in iron. Like me a few years back, if you are a vegetarian (or just don't like red meat) you may struggle to get your RDA of iron. Pregnant women who of course have a body that they are now sharing commonly suffer from lack of iron. Also those who smoke may notice the signs and of course women who suffer heavy periods lose a lot of iron every month.
It is extremely important that you speak to your doctor before you think about taking an iron supplement as sometimes it could be the first signs of something far worse. Symptoms of a deficiency are similar to those diagnosed with stomach ulcers. So speaking to your doctor first and determining the difference could potentially be life saving (In the worst case). Never just assume.
--The tablet itself/what it contains-- The tablet with just iron in weighs at 15mg which is 7% over the RDA. Now I am a tablet fiend. Most of my life I have taken horse pills as medication but even my eyes popped out when I saw the size of this tablet! It is quite difficult to describe the size. It is an oval shape and measures 2cm across and when turned sideways is a cm thick too!!! If that still didn't make sense to you, check the picture below. Being a table though it does have its advantages. You can either crush it into a small drink of water/juice or just break it in half. Or if your crazy (like me) swallow it whole. Do note that you should have a glass of water near by though, more than once I have got it stuck in my throat….Ouch…
My experience of it I took this for seven months until finally the smell of a bacon sarnie made me weak at the knees….excuse? Yes. Do I care? No, that BLT tasted DAMN good! However, I took it religiously every morning and after only a week I noticed the difference. I didn't feel the need to curl up into a ball in the fitting rooms at work and have a quick nap and I certainly didn't feel like I had sand in my mouth anymore. After two weeks I was back to my insanely hyper state and nothing could stop me. Unless someone stole my supplements of course. Like mentioned before though I did struggle to take the tablets sometimes, especially when I first started as one of my symptoms was a dry throat/mouth. I shouldn't have been so stubborn because after a while I started adding it to my orange juice and it worked just as well without trying to cut of my oxygen supply.
--Price-- The best way yo find out the price of Iron is to check the website out (www.hollandandbarrett.com). The RRP is £5.49 but with promotions constantly going on you can always get a good deal.
--Iron in your diet-- If an iron supplement isn't for you but you still need to get it into your diet there are a few different things you can eat. They include: Liver Beef Wholemeal Bread - This is a really simple thing you can swap in your every day diet as all you need to do is swap from white bread (unless your already healthy of course). Cereals - Yum, cornflakes is always a good one. Just don't drown it in milk Eggs - There are several different ways you can eat your eggs so there is plenty to pick from Dried fruit - Yes, dried. You can get things with plenty of dried fruit in from Holland and Barrett called sprinkles. There are bags ranging from 100g to 1kg with several different fruits to keep your taste buds tingling. Spinach - Just ask Popeye! Brussels sprouts - Bogies anyone?!?
Would I recommend it? If it has been recommended by your doctor and you really are struggling to get it into your daily diet then yes I would definitely recommend this supplement. Despite being a pain to take there really is no disadvantage to making sure you have your RDA of iron and of course you will soon see your body getting back to its original state…no matter how bashed up it is :)