The answer is no. Iron pills are not associated with more weight in those who take them. As a result, experts do not recommend taking iron pills to reduce body fat or to lose weight. This means that taking iron pills may be more of a burden than you realize:
“The best way to get started on iron pills is to go on a well-planned diet, followed by weight-loss training, rather than on a medication like iron pills,” says the study’s author, Dr. Matthew Rabin, a senior clinical dietitian at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Why do some people take large doses of iron pills?
Some people don’t realize that taking too many iron pills may cause severe side effects. This is why many of the recommended daily doses are based on adults, whereas some medications may cause serious side effects even in small or older adults.
For example, if someone is taking 40 milligrams of iron pills every day, he or she may have side effects including diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. The doses usually given to people in this category do not have any significant effects, but they are usually taken in smaller amounts. The same is considered safe in kids or for a short time before the baby or toddler is born.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New England Journal of Medicine recommend that the daily amount of iron tablets recommended for children or adolescents ages eight or younger be reduced to 8 milligrams a day.
How long-term is the effect of taking too many iron pills?
People who take large doses of iron pills probably have few long-term consequences. If the long-term effects are mild, such as a mild stomach ache, they are likely temporary. And, in the vast majority of people, taking only 10 percent to 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of iron is not going to cause serious effects, including kidney, liver and breast damage.
Still, doctors usually advise taking fewer iron pills than about 10 percent. A review published in 2000 of the effects of daily doses of iron pills in healthy adults found that the higher the dose, the less serious the effects. The dose used in the study, 1 milligram of iron tablets, is about equivalent to about 0.4 grams (1/4 teaspoon) of table salt (3 mg iron), which would translate into a daily dose of about 2 to 3 milligrams (1.4 to 1 teaspoon).
Even with lower
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