Iron pills contain a compound called methylcobalamin, which can make your body absorb excess iron, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, these drugs are not approved for weight loss, so you should take them with caution if you’re on a weight-loss plan.
How can iron pills do more harm than good?
There’s good news and bad news.
Loseweight is defined as a reduction in your body weight greater than about 1 pound, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, some studies suggest that iron pills may actually help people lose weight.
If you weigh more than 5 percent less than when you started using iron pills, you’re considered overweight. You might be able to stay off your weight-loss medication for as long as you can follow the diet and maintain your regular exercise, says Mayo Clinic nutritionist Dr. Mary P. Leichty.
However, a small study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that iron pills caused a significant increase in body fat even after people stopped taking them.
“Iron pills are used for weight loss based upon results from animal studies,” Leichty says. “But in human studies, there have been no randomized controlled trials to show weight loss with iron pills.”
Do more than 500 milligrams (mg) of iron per day help reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes?
If you lose weight or do not gain back weight, it could be because you’re using iron pills to increase your iron stores. However, the amount of iron you need from your diet remains the same. If you don’t meet your daily requirement from your diet, you might be more likely to get diabetes.
Iron pills are not a miracle drug and a person may have a good chance of staying free of type 2 diabetes if he eats a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, says Leichty, a member of the American Diabetes Association. Still, if you need to take iron pills or have Type 2 diabetes, you should talk to your health care provider before any new treatment begins.
What should I know about iron pills?
Use of iron pills is mostly for weight loss benefits.
In some people, taking iron pills can cause heart problems, depression or headaches.
It can also have dangerous side effects. Although these side effects are rare, consult your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms:
A sudden fever
A sudden loss of feeling