Is There Any Correlation Between Taking Iron Pills & Vitamin D Deficiency?

Oysters
Plate of raw oysters (Image: pnphotos/iStock/Getty Images)

As a trace mineral, iron is a nutrient you need in small amounts. This essential substance is a component of enzymes and proteins. Iron also controls cell development and makes it possible for red blood cells to transport oxygen to every area of your body. Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption to form strong bones and it supports your immune system. No scientific evidence indicates that iron supplementation causes a vitamin D deficiency, though iron levels may be affected by vitamin D.

Iron and Vitamin D Interaction

Although iron pills do not deplete your supply of vitamin D, the opposite may occur. According to National Trichology Services, excessive vitamin D or its lengthy supplementation can impair iron absorption. If you must take both the mineral and the vitamin for an extended period, discuss with your doctor what the best course of action is. She may need to order blood tests regularly to monitor you for signs of anemia.

Natural Sources

You may be able to avoid interactions between iron and vitamin D if you can get the recommended daily intake for these nutrients from natural sources. Iron is present in red meats, oysters, legumes and greens. Vitamin D is available from fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, and egg yolks. Commercial dairies in the United States also fortify their milk with vitamin D. But the simplest way to get the nutrient is by exposing your skin to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times weekly, which triggers the body to synthesize vitamin D. If your doctor recommends iron or vitamin D supplementation, do not replace the dosages with a natural source without discussing the matter with her first. If you are deficient because of a medical condition that keeps your body from extracting the nutrients from what you eat, taking supplements may be your best option for staying healthy.

Recommended Iron Intake

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends daily iron intakes based on age and gender. At 19 years of age, a man’s requirement is 8 mg while a woman needs 18 milligrams of iron. Her recommended intake drops to 8 milligrams when she turns 51. Do not exceed these daily values without your doctor’s recommendation and supervision as too much iron can be fatal. Ask a physician before giving iron supplements to a child or adolescent to ensure they receive a safe dose.

Recommended Vitamin D Intake

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that all adults, up to 70 years of age, consume 600 international units daily. At 71 years of age or older, adults need to take in 800 IU of vitamin D daily. Do not exceed these values unless your doctor recommends higher intakes. Excessive vitamin D can cause bone loss and kidney stones. Since the nutrient facilitates calcium absorption, too much vitamin D also increases the levels of calcium in your body. The mineral surplus can crystallize and harden your heart.

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