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Do Iron Tablets Cause Hypoglycemia?

Iron deficiency is a global health problem that has been affecting both developed and developing countries vastly. The constant feeling of shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, cold hands and feet, and pale skin may be because of Iron deficiency.

But what does it mean to be iron deficient? Well, the body needs a mineral known as Iron to function properly. This mineral is responsible for providing energy to the body.

But how and where is this iron stored in our body? Well, iron is present in our body in the form of Ferritin. It is present in the Liver, Spleen, Muscle, Tissues, and Bone Marrow and is delivered in the body in the form of Transferrin.

Pretty essential mineral right? So, what do you know about its roles in our body?

1. What Are the Roles of Iron?

  • It keeps healthy hair, skin, and nails.
  • It helps in Oxygen transport.
  • It aids cognitive functions
  • Boosts the Immunity system.
  • Helps to convert Blood sugar to energy.

2. What are the Sources of Iron?

Iron can be found in abundance in foods such as Beans, Dried fruits, Dark green leafy vegetables, Eggs, Tofu, and Lean Red Meat.

The recommended intake of Iron differs from one person to another. The content of Iron can be increased by taking Iron Supplements1. Iron Supplement tablets should be taken only after the consultancy of a Registered Medical Practitioner.

Usually, High-dosage Iron supplements are prescribed for Iron deficient patients. Iron supplements have certain side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and much more. It is better if Iron Supplements are avoided or taken only when prescribed or recommended by a practising doctor.

The most common Iron supplement is Ferrous Sulphate. But a higher proportion has stopped taking supplemental iron. Excessive intake of iron supplements is not recommended. There are Major online retailers that sell iron tablets.

4. Types of Iron in Our Diets:

They are of 2 types. i.e. Haem Iron and Non-Haem Iron.

4.1 Heme Iron:

Dietary iron is found in Beef, Lamb, Kangaroo, and Chicken. Dietary iron is easily absorbed by the body. The people who eat meat have enough iron.

4.2 Non-Heme Iron:

Non-dietary iron is found in Cereals, Legumes, Wholegrains, Dried fruits, and Lentils.

4.3 But, What Are Iron Stores?

The levels of Iron stored which lie in between Iron deficiency and Iron Overload are known as Iron stores.

How to reduce excess Iron Stores?

  • Avoid iron supplements.
  • Avoid Vitamin C Supplements.
  • Avoid Seafood.
  • Avoid excess Iron-containing food products.

5. Iron Deficiency:

Iron Deficiency: What You Need To Know When Your Iron Levels Are Low

It is most commonly known as Iron Deficiency Anemia. It generally occurs when the body doesn’t have sufficient iron in the body.

Anaemia is defined as a decreased level of haemoglobin in red blood cells.

5.1 What Is Haemoglobin?

Haemoglobin gives a red colour to the blood present in the body. Red blood cells have a protein in them that carries oxygen in the body, which is known as Haemoglobin. Haemoglobin Level differs from person to person.

Who is at risk of Iron Deficiency?

  • Frequent Blood Donors
  • Infants and Children.
  • Women who have heavy menstrual periods.
  • People with Poor Diet.
  • Blood loss due to kidney disease.
  • Women who are pregnant.
  • Blood loss from the bladder.
  • Senior citizens over the age of 65+.

5.2 Iron Deficiency Anemia:

Doctors usually recommend a Complete Blood Count (CBC) 2to diagnose Iron deficiency. It measures the cell-related components in blood. It helps in diagnosing iron deficiency anaemia.

In Iron deficiency Anemia, the Haematocrit and Haemoglobin levels are low.

The blood test will tell us the iron level in the blood, the ferritin level, and so on.

5.3 What Are the Complications of Iron Deficient Anemia?

  • Heart Failure.
  • Rapid Heartbeat.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Hypoxia.
  • During pregnancy may cause fetal death or morbidity.

5.4 Treatment of Iron-Deficient Anemia

  • Take Iron Supplements on an empty stomach.
  • The diet must include Red Meat, Nuts, Dried fruits, etc. Eating meat is recommended.
  • Intravenous Iron.3

As we know “Prevention is better than cure”. So let’s see the ways to prevent anaemia:

  • Consume foods rich in Iron.
  • Consume foods with Vitamin C.
  • Consumption of more iron is to be prevented.

Speaking of treatment options for iron deficiency, iron tablets or supplements are the go-to choice. But there is a rising concern around that.

People are concerned that iron tablets cause hypoglycemia.

6. Hypoglycemia:

Hypoglycemia: Definition, Identification, Prevention, and Treatment

Hypoglycemia is a condition in the body where the levels of blood sugar are lower than the actual standard level. It is a common condition for people who have diabetes.

6.1 Symptoms of Hypoglycemia:

  • Fatigue.
  • Parlour.
  • Sweating.
  • Lack of Concentration.
  • Rapid Heart Rate.

If there are Hypoglycemic symptoms seen, immediate easily digestible carbohydrates of 15g consumption are recommended.

6.2 Causes of Hypoglycemia:

  • Skipping Meals or Fast.
  • Medications.
  • Insulin Overproduction.

6.3 Complications of Hypoglycemia:

  • Death
  • Coma
  • Seizures

6.4 Treatment of Hypoglycemia:

  • Glucose Tablets.
  • Juices.
  • Fresh or Dried Fruits.
  • Medications: Gvoke, Baqsimi

7. Do Iron Tablets Cause Hypoglycemia?

Iron tablets do not cause Hypoglycemia. There is no link between them. Iron tablets are not related anywhere to Hypoglycemia. Therefore, it is not true.

While there is no link between the two, both anaemia (iron deficiency) and hypoglycemia can be present at the same time in an individual.

They are not directly linked to each other. Hypoglycemia is typically associated with conditions like diabetes or excessive insulin production. Iron tablets are commonly prescribed to address iron deficiency and support various bodily functions. Their primary role is not related to blood sugar regulation.

This ongoing debate and confusion regarding the two conditions dates back to 2010. A study published in 2010 suggested that anaemia can lead to producing false positives of patients having higher blood sugar levels. As of result, patients started using insulins to control their sugar levels 4and ultimately became hypoglycemic.

  1. Stoltzfus, Rebecca J., and Michele L. Dreyfuss. Guidelines for the use of iron supplements to prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia. Vol. 2. Washington, DC: Ilsi Press, 1998. ↩︎
  2. George-Gay, Beverly, and Katherine Parker. “Understanding the complete blood count with differential.” Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing 18.2 (2003): 96-117. ↩︎
  3. Avni, Tomer, et al. “The safety of intravenous iron preparations: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Mayo clinic proceedings. Vol. 90. No. 1. Elsevier, 2015. ↩︎
  4. Daly, Mark. “Sugars, insulin sensitivity, and the postprandial state.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 78.4 (2003): 865S-872S. ↩︎

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