​Iron is Essential for Our Health

Iron is vital to our health and plays a central role in creating energy from nutrients. It also contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses, the signals that coordinate the actions of different parts of our body. Iron is so important that if we have more iron than is needed, it’s stored in our body for future use. Iron is defined as an essential mineral, meaning we must get it from our diet. It's an important component of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. Hemoglobin uses about two-thirds of our body's total iron. If we're lacking iron, our body can't produce enough red blood cells, which can affect our oxygen level and make us feel tired. Iron is essential for children to ensure healthy growth and development.

When we don't get enough iron, we're at risk of iron deficiency. Prolonged inadequate iron may lead to iron deficiency anemia, which must be addressed, or development and health may be impaired. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia in America. An estimated five million people have it, and it can happen at any age.

Children and adults alike may be at risk of iron deficiency. Women of childbearing age and adolescent girls may also be at risk because their bodies lose iron due to menstruation. And those whose diets feature a lot of empty calories may be at risk. 

Family members who are overweight or obese may have low iron levels. Children up to age 5 who drink more than 24 ounces (710 mL) of cow's milk, goat's milk, or soy milk a day might not get enough iron. Others at risk might include family members who have certain health conditions, such as chronic infections or who consume restricted diets. Children who have been exposed to lead might have low iron levels. Anyone who doesn’t eat enough iron-rich foods may also be at risk of iron deficiency. 

Good sources of iron include red meat, chicken, fish, beans, and spinach. Vitamin C helps promote the absorption of dietary iron. You can improve the family’s absorption of iron by offering foods rich in vitamin C: such as citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and dark green vegetables.

Anyone needing to boost intake of iron or who isn’t eating a good array of iron-rich foods may make up the deficit with an iron supplement. Chewable iron is available in a form that is tasty and well tolerated, even during pregnancy. Women who aren’t pregnant or nursing need to take in 15 to 18 mg of iron daily. Women who are expecting need significantly more. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended dietary allowance of iron for pregnant women is 27 milligrams per day.

Kid's Chewable Iron is a convenient way to get the iron kids need to help maintain health. A single Kid's Chewable Iron strawberry-flavored tablet provides 15 mg of iron to promote healthy blood, energy utilization, and immune function.