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Many factors affect proper iron dosage, including a person’s diet, age, and gender. Diet greatly influences the amount of iron found in a person’s blood because this is usually the primary way humans consume iron. Gender is one factor that determines how much iron is needed by the body to operate without hindrance. Age is another factor that affect iron dosage, because humans need a lot of iron when very young and very old. Without the proper iron dosage, people suffer from iron deficiency, which can cause a delay in a baby’s development, poor memory in teenagers, and fatigue in adults.
A person’s diet greatly affects iron dosage; for example, the iron in breast milk is easily absorbed, while powdered infant formula has poorly absorbed iron. People who eat red meat also tend to consume more iron than people who are vegetarians. This is because the iron in red meat is easy to absorb, while the iron in vegetables is usually harder for a person’s body to break down and use. Eating certain foods, such as foods that contain vitamin C, can help the body absorb iron if eaten at the same meal.
Gender also plays a role in proper iron dosage. The recommended dosage for women more than the age of 14 is usually a bit higher than boys and men. Girls and women who are menstruating lose iron during menstruation, so this is a time when iron is needed most. In addition, women who are pregnant and lactating need more iron than those who are not.
In general, people need a higher iron dosage as they grow older. The exception is that infants usually require more iron than children due to their fast-growing bodies. Young pregnant women also tend to need more iron than older pregnant women. The recommended iron dosage usually maxes out around age 51 for everyone, no matter their gender.
Iron deficiency is a common health problem that results from not consuming enough iron. Whether someone has a deficiency is determined by a doctor, who usually performs multiple tests to be sure of the deficiency. Sometimes fixing an iron deficiency is as simple as changing a person’s diet. More often, it involves taking a supplement to maintain enough iron to function at one’s best. Low-dose iron supplements are playing a bigger role in supplementing those who are deficient because of their tendency to have fewer side effects.