Health & Fitness

Iron Supplements and Fatigue in Women

Kristen Sparrow • July 01, 2012

I’m glad to see an article on the use of iron supplements, something underutilized in medicine in my opinion. In Chinese Medicine, womens’ “blood,” the quality and quantity is of primary importance. The premise of this article is a bit odd, in that it is not a myth that iron CAN cure fatigue if the cause is iron deficiency.  There is data to suggest that the accepted “normal” ferritin level and hematocrit levels are actually too low for most women.  Over the past 14 years, I’ve found iron supplementation to be extremely helpful for many women.  Often a subclinical anemia can cause a host of problems, from poor sleep, to headaches, to irregular periods and, yes, fatigue.  When women are having menstrual cycles, the danger of iron overload is minimal, and supplements can be indicated.
The myth: Iron supplements can cure fatigue in women.
The truth: It depends.
Iron-deficiency anemia is fairly common among women in their child-bearing years, primarily because of the regular loss of blood from menstruating. Because fatigue is a major symptom of anemia, women diagnosed with this condition will almost definitely feel better if they take an iron supplement...