I have heard that it is not good for you to take iron pills because of the free radicals?

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Hi, I have heard that it is not good for you to take iron pills because of the free radicals (I’m not sure if it’s correct English). Is this true?

I have now got a serum iron of 6 and I understand it is not good. Is there a better way of getting compliments (if not food) than the ordinary iron pills you get from a doctor? Sorry for my bad English. Kind regards.

Free radicals have a high degree of association with cancer cell formation. Iron supplements do not produce free radicals. Antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin E and C and selenium are effective at scavenging these free radicals and neutralizing them. Read the vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E topics for more information about these nutrients. The best source for these nutrients is food.

If your serum iron is low and your doctor has prescribed iron supplements, I would recommend you take them. Iron is most absorbable in the ferrous form (fumarate or sulfate, less so in the gluconate form) than ferric.

Of course, you can eat more foods high in iron which include red meat, especially liver, fortified breakfast cereals, whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables. (Read second question below for specific foods high in iron.) Iron absorption from your intestines is improved by vitamin C. So include some citrus fruits or broccoli at the same time as your iron foods.