Iron supplements are supplements that can be prescribed by a doctor for a medical reason. Iron can also be a dietary supplement, which can be purchased in supermarkets etc. These 2 categories should not be confused.
The first iron pills were commonly known as Blaud’s pills, which were named after P. Blaud of Beaucaire, the French physician who introduced and started the use of these medications as a treatment for patients with anemia.
Iron supplements are used in medicine to treat iron-deficiency anemia.
First, it must be clear that iron deficiency and not another factor (e.g. chronic, low-grade, undetected blood loss such as fecal occult blood) causes the anemia. Preventive measures must be discussed with the patient (for example when the patient is on a strict vegetarian diet because inorganic iron in plants has a lower bioavailability, or elderly patients with a poor diet).
Another indication for giving extra iron is the second and third trimester of pregnancy, generally in association with folic acid. Indeed, in some condition like growth, menstruation and pregnancy, the body’s need for iron is increased. Supplements may be needed to reach RDA life goals.