Iron is a mineral essential for good health and is especially important for premenopausal women because they can lose it through menstruation, pregnancy and an iron-poor diet. So, Mayo Clinic experts say premenopausal women who don’t get enough iron in their diets may need to take iron supplements. But what about women who have gone through menopause? Should they take iron supplements?
Voiceover script, b-roll and sound bites with Richa Sood, M.D., are available in the downloads above.
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Dr. Richa Sood, Mayo Clinic Women's Health Clinic
Mayo Clinic's Dr. Richa Sood says, if they’re healthy, the answer is no. She says the majority of postmenopausal women who are healthy and eat an iron-rich diet don't need iron supplements and shouldn't take them. The reason is, with excessive ingestion there's a risk of iron buildup in the body. Although most women will simply pass the extra iron if they ingest too much, a small percentage can’t do that. Extra iron can buildup in the tissues such as the liver and joints and that can cause damage. So it’s best not to take iron supplements if you don’t need them.
You can get iron by eating an iron-rich diet that includes meat, leafy greens such as spinach, beans and iron-fortified cereals. Dr. Sood says it’s important for postmenopausal women to go for their checkups regularly to make sure they are healthy. Medical conditions causing blood loss can result in iron deficiency. In addition to the specific treatment for their condition, these women may also need iron supplements.