ferrous gluconate (generic name)
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CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Atomic number 26, carbonyl iron, dextran-iron, elemental Iron, FE, Fer, ferrous carbonate anhydrous, ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous pyrophosphate, ferrous sulfate, iron dextran, iron-polysaccharide, iron sorbitol, Iron sucrose, sodium ferric gluconate.
Selected U.S. brand names: DexFerrum®, Femiron®, Feosol Caplets®, Feosol Tablets®, Feostat®, Feostat Drops®, Feratab®, Fer-gen-sol®, Fergon®, Fer-In-Sol Drops®, Fer-In-Sol Syrup®, Fer-Iron Drops®, Fero-Gradumet®, Ferospace®, Ferralet®, Ferralet Slow Release®, Ferralyn Lanacaps®, Ferra-TD®, Ferretts®, Ferrlecit®, Fumasorb®, Fumerin®, Hemocyte®, Hemofer®, Hytinic®, InFeD®, Ircon®, Mol-Iron®, Nephro-Fer®, Niferex®, Niferex-150®, Nu-Iron®, Nu-Iron 150®, Simron®, Slow Fe®, Span-FF®, Venofer®.
Iron is an essential mineral and an important component of proteins involved in oxygen transport and metabolism. Iron is also an essential cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. About 15 percent of the body's iron is stored for future needs and mobilized when dietary intake is inadequate. The body usually maintains normal iron status by controlling the amount of iron absorbed from food.
There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Sources of heme iron include meat fish and poultry. Sources of non-heme iron, which is not absorbed as well as heme iron, include beans, lentils, flours, cereals, and grain products. Other sources of iron include dried fruit, peas, asparagus, leafy greens, strawberries, and nuts.
The World Health Organization considers iron deficiency to be the largest international nutritional disorder. Although much of the ethnic disparity in iron deficiency anemia remains unexplained, socioeconomic factors may be involved.
Iron deficiency can be determined by measurement of iron levels within the body, mainly serum ferritin levels, which can also help distinguish between iron deficiency anemia and anemia associated with chronic disease.
Herbal preparations such as yellow dock root may be used in iron deficiency, although scientific evidence may be lacking.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Anemia of chronic disease:
Taking iron orally with epoetin alfa (erythropoietin, EPO, Epogen®, Procrit®) is effective for treating anemia associated with chronic renal failure and chemotherapy.
Iron deficiency anemia:
Ferrous sulfate (Feratab®, Fer-Iron®, Slow-FE®) is the standard treatment for treating iron deficiency anemia. Dextran-iron (INFeD®) is given intravenously by healthcare providers to restore adequate iron levels in bone marrow when oral iron therapy has failed.
ACE inhibitor-associated cough:
Taking iron orally seems to inhibit cough associated with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as captopril (Capoten®), enalapril (Vasotec®), and lisinopril (Prinivil®, Zestril®).
Preventing iron deficiency in menstruating women:
Iron supplementation has been shown to improve iron status in menstruating women.
Prevention of iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy:
Iron supplements have been shown to help prevent iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women. Anemia in pregnant women is associated with adverse outcomes such as low birth weight, premature birth, and maternal mortality. Screening by a qualified healthcare provider is needed. Low doses are generally well tolerated and associated with better compliance.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
Based on preliminary data, taking iron orally might improve symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More study is necessary before a conclusion can be drawn.
Fatigue in women with low ferritin levels:
Ferrous sulfate may improve fatigue primarily in women with borderline or low serum ferritin concentrations. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Improving cognitive performance related to iron deficiency:
Taking iron by mouth seems to improve cognitive function related to iron deficiency in iron-deficient children and adolescents. Further research is needed to confirm the potential benefit of iron in this indication. Iron supplements are not recommended for improving cognitive performance in non-iron deficient people.
Iron deficiency may increase the risk of lead poisoning in children. However, the use of iron supplementation in lead poisoning should be reserved for those individuals who are truly iron deficient or for those individuals with continuing lead exposure, such as continued residence in lead-exposed housing.
Preventing anemia associated with preterm/low birth weight infants:
Further study of prenatal iron supplementation is needed before a firm recommendation can be made regarding the effects of anemia on preterm/low birth weight infants.
Preventing iron deficiency in exercising women:
Preliminary studies suggest that iron supplementation can reverse mild anemia after exercise, improve energy, and enhance performance. However, other studies disagree. Further research is needed in this area before firm recommendations can be made.
Prevention of iron deficiency after blood donation:
The results of early study indicate that elemental iron can adequately compensate for iron loss in males and females who donate whole blood up to four (females) or six times per year (males).
Prevention of iron deficiency anemia due to gastrointestinal bleeding:
Intravenous high-dose iron sucrose therapy in patients with iron deficiency anemia due to gastrointestinal blood loss appears to be safe and therefore is a therapeutic option that may save time and improve patient compliance. More study is needed in this area.
Treatment of predialysis anemia:
Adequate iron supplementation may be beneficial as an adjunct therapy with erythropoietin in the treatment of predialysis anemia. Predialysis anemia should be treated by a qualified healthcare provider. More study is needed in this area.
Therapy for anemia after orthopedic surgery:
Early study reports that iron taken after elective hip or knee replacement surgery does not result in higher hemoglobin after surgery or a faster rate of increase in hemoglobin than placebo.