Iron supplements are commonly used to help treat iron deficiency anaemia. They are available in different strengths, from under the daily recommended allowance to much higher than 100%.
Most people will find a multivitamin provides enough iron for their requirements. However, those with an iron deficiency may need a different type of iron in a higher concentration. Iron in supplements is available in different forms, and some are more easily absorbed than others. If you are sensitive to certain forms of iron, this should also be taken into consideration.
Those with an iron deficiency may be wondering where they can get their iron supplements and if they will need a prescription to buy them. In this article, we will look at how iron deficiency is diagnosed, what you can do to treat it, and where you can purchase iron supplements over the counter.
How do you know if you need an iron supplement?
A simple blood test can confirm if you are iron deficient. Iron deficiency is common in pregnant or menstruating women. It may also be seen in men or women with digestive problems or bleeding disorders. A trip to the doctor can confirm if you are lacking in iron.
Some people suffer from occasional iron deficiency and some people struggle with it all the time. You may suspect you have an iron deficiency if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Pale and cold skin
- Rapid or thumping heartbeat
- Easily exhausted
- Shortness of breath
- Brittle nails
- Inflammation or sores on your tongue
A blood test can confirm if you are deficient. Further tests may be required to determine why you are deficient, particularly if there isn’t an obvious cause.
How to treat iron deficiency
Once you know the cause of your iron deficiency, you can then think about treatment. Your doctor may advise you to increase your intake of iron-rich foods. These include:
- Red meat
- Beans, including kidney beans, chickpeas and edamame
- Dried fruit such as apricots
- Fortified bread and breakfast cereal
In addition to changes to your diet, you should also take a daily iron supplement. Your doctor may also recommend a B12 supplement and Vitamin C to help boost your energy levels and assist your body in absorbing iron from your diet.
Can I Get Over The Counter Iron Supplements in the UK?
You can get iron supplements from your pharmacist without a prescription. The pharmacist will ask questions about your history with iron supplements before determining if you should take them. If you have never taken iron before, you may be asked to visit a doctor first to confirm a deficiency with a blood test.
There is a lot of confusion about where you can purchase iron supplements in the UK. Iron supplements that are available in the vitamin aisle in a health food shop are not the same as those available from the pharmacy.
- Low strength iron supplements include syrups that contain sodium feredetate.
- Medium strength tablets and syrups contain ferrous gluconate
- High strength tablets contain ferrous fumarate and ferrous sulphate.
If you have an iron deficiency, you will likely need to take the high strength iron supplements until your deficiency is under control. Once you have it under control, you may want to switch to a gentle iron supplement as this will be kinder on your stomach.
Ordering your iron supplements from an online pharmacy will ensure that you never run out when you need them most. It’s also a great way to secure a great price on iron supplements. We stock a range of iron supplements, including ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulphate and gentle iron syrups.