Why does iron cause constipation? It is a beneficial mineral in our bodies, and taking it should improve our bodily functions. But many people complain of nausea, diarrhea, and constipation after taking it. Is there a solution to this issue?
Iron causes constipation because the body absorbs very little of it. Any excess iron is left to destructive microbes in the gut that cause constipation. The more iron you take, the higher your chances of suffering from gastrointestinal issues such as constipation. You can avoid this by taking slow-release iron pills, minimizing the dose of iron you take, and drinking lots of water.
The Benefits of Taking Iron
Iron is a mineral that’s essential for optimizing hemoglobin functions which enhances oxygen conveyance in blood. It also increases energy in athletes and enhances their performance. Iron is also an effective immune booster.
If you are suffering from blood problems taking iron can improve your condition. It is vital for women because their bodies produce less iron than men. That’s why it is recommended for pregnant women and those suffering from Menorrhagia, a condition characterized by heavy periods.
Iron also enhances cognitive functions, which can boost mental focus. Taking it can promote the growth of healthy nails, skin, and hair, especially when combined with vitamin C.
The Disadvantages of Taking Iron
Taking iron causes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, and constipation in some people. Excessive iron consumption can also cause organ failure, seizures, and death as excess iron harms vital organs in the body.
Iron overload can also cause colon cancer. It is also known to encourage the growth of harmful pathogens that will increase your risk of suffering from infections.
How to Take Iron to Avoid Constipation
Although iron causes some side effects, such as constipation, you can overcome them and benefit from these supplements.
Start by taking a lot of water with your iron to counteract constipation caused by iron pills. You should also exercise to encourage regular bowel movements. Taking a short, thirty-minute walk is enough to encourage your body to release any build-up of stool in your gut.
You should take fiber-rich foods such as fruits, legumes, and vegetables to prevent constipation when taking iron. Fermented products such as sauerkraut can also encourage the production of friendly microbes to improve your gut functions.
When taking iron supplements, avoid foods that can trigger gastrointestinal problems. Examples are cow milk, wheat products, red meat, and cheese.
It’s also important to note that iron is not always the cause of constipation. Some people are more prone to constipation than others. These are pregnant individuals, the elderly, and those suffering from IBS.
Others are individuals taking medicine such as psychiatric medications and opioid painkillers.
While iron supplements are vital for our bodily functions, we can expect some side effects after taking them. Constipation is one such side effect that you can quickly solve by changing your diet.
If you try these solutions and your constipation persists, talk to your doctor for a solution. You could benefit from a medication change or find other non-medicinal ways to deal with your iron deficiency.