Iron is one of the essential micronutrients required to perform various functions, including making the red blood cells that transport oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can lead to all kinds of complications; therefore, those who are deficient often take a supplement. The downside, however, is that iron supplements can cause discomfort, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation and other gastric disturbances. Fortunately, there are ways to minimise these nasty side effects.
Examine your options
Not all iron supplements are absorbed by the body in the same way. You may find that a liquid iron supplement is ideal, or that elemental iron with a lowest absorption rate is best suited to you. Iron sulphate and iron fumarate are both absorbed at the same rate, while a liquid iron supplement may be absorbed faster than in tablet form. By trying out a few different options, you can find the type of supplement that does not affect you negatively.
Learn about micronutrients
Iron supplements can be used for a number of different reasons; in all cases, it is important that you know about micronutrients and their importance in reducing nausea. An iron supplement will be less likely to make you feel ill if there are other micronutrients available at the time of absorption. Vitamin C, copper, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 all aid iron absorption and can be taken in conjunction to reduce nausea.
Opt for iron-rich foods
In addition to taking a liquid iron supplement or tablets, you should consider eating iron-rich food to ensure your body becomes used to a higher concentration of iron. By eating iron-rich foods, such as lamb, shrimp, beef, spinach and lentils, you can improve your absorption rate and thus reduce nausea and negative gastric effects. By opting for iron-rich foods, you may also be able to reduce the need for supplements over time; in addition, you may find that you recover far faster if you are anaemic.
Be aware that taking an iron supplement may not need to be an ongoing process and that often there will be an adjustment period as the body gets used to the new levels of the mineral in your system. Nausea may still occur, but you can reduce the chances dramatically by following the above tips.