Return to Index
(Reduced Iron in Blood)
|Red Blood Cells|
|Iron makes a critical component of red blood cells.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Iron that is poorly absorbed in the digestive tract—may occur due to intestinal diseases or surgery
- Chronic bleeding , such as heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
- Not enough iron in the diet—common cause in infants, children, and pregnant women
- Rapid growth cycles—may occur with infancy or adolescence
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or chronic blood loss from the GI tract
- Diets that contain insufficient iron—rare in the United States
- Breastfed infants who have not started on solid food after 6 months of age
- Babies who are given cow’s milk prior to age 12 months
- Serum iron
- Transferrin iron binding capacity
- Serum ferritin level
- Microscope examination of a blood smear
- Fecal occult blood test —to look for hidden blood in the stool
- Eat a diet rich in iron , such as oysters, meat, poultry, or fish
- Avoid foods that interfere with iron absorption, such as black tea
- Starting at 4 months, breastfed infants need an iron supplement until they get enough iron from other sources, like infant cereal or iron-fortified formula.
- Bottle-fed infants should get a formula that is fortified with iron.
- Many premature infants need extra iron starting at 1 month of age.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://healthychildren.org
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Beers MH, Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 17th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 1999.
Beers MH, Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. 18th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2006.
Iron. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated August 22, 2013. Accessed August 12, 2014.
Iron deficiency in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 4, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
Iron deficiency in children (infancy through adolescence). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 7, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
Iron fortification of infant formulas. Pediatrics. 1999;104:119-123.
US Preventive Services Task Force. The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Report of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002.
US Preventive Services Task Force. The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Report of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. AHRQ Publication No. 06-0588; Rockville, MD: 2006.
10/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Baker R, Greer F, et al. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics. 2010;126(5):1040-1050.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 09/30/2013