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Ferric orthophosphate, also known as iron phosphate, is an inorganic chemical containing iron. It is a mineral that is added to nutritional supplements to treat anemia, or iron deficiency.
Ferric orthophosphate also has other food and medical uses as well as uses outside of food and medical treatments. This mineral is also added to performance enhancers to improve athletic abilities and stamina.
Ferric orthophosphate is useful for many functions of the body, but it can be poisonous in large dosages. This is a common mineral that leads to iron poisoning in children who ingest large amounts of vitamins because the vitamins look or taste like candy.
In 2005 it was added to the National list of approved substances to be used in organic farming by the United States Department of Agriculture. Ferric orthophosphate is used to kill snails and slugs that would otherwise destroy crops. It was approved for use on organic crops because it is not harmful to humans, pets or wildlife.
Ferric orthophosphate is added to powders and supplements to enhance blood flow to improve oxygen movement during weight-lifting, exercise and sport competitions.
It also is helpful, according to Web MD, in treating certain memory and learning problems in children who have low iron levels. There is no evidence that ferric orthophosphate is helpful in treating non-iron related issues such as ADHD.
Iron is an important mineral in the body. In the form of hemoglobin, iron helps red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body and to remove carbon dioxide from the body.
Iron deficiency is called anemia. Anemia causes the symptom of extreme fatigue because not enough oxygen is getting to the cells.
Those who suffer from anemia and cannot get enough iron in their diet may need to take an iron supplement to supply the mineral to the body. Ferric orthophosphate is a common iron supplement that is taken to treat anemia.
Many vegetarians, vegans, and others who choose to abstain from eating meat have problems with anemia because meat is a source of large amounts of iron. Other anemia sufferers may have cancer, kidney disease, or a genetic condition that affects the formation of red blood cells.
Ferric orthophosphate is also added to multivitamins and prenatal pills for women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or are breast feeding. It is also a common recommendation for babies who are breast fed.
Your doctor will let you know if you or your child should be taking vitamins with ferric orthophosphate.
Web MD lists common side effects as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Any woman who has taken prenatal vitamins knows that the high amount of ferric orthophosphate in the supplements can also cause constipation.
It is advised to take the supplement or vitamin with food or in a coated form to reduce gastrointestinal side effects. Taking a stool softener with an iron supplement will improve constipation.
Iron is dangerous in large doses, and the toxicity level will vary from person to person depending on age and weight. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all iron-containing substances to include a warning stating that iron poisoning is one of the leading causes of fatal poisoning in children under six.
Iron poisoning can lead to pain in the stomach and abdomen, low blood pressure, organ failure and death. However, it is considered Generally Recognized As Safe, or GRAS, by the FDA when used within safe daily limits.
The National Institutes of Health lists symptoms of iron poisoning as nausea, vomiting, pale or bluish skin, black feces, drowsiness, shock and coma. Poison control should be called immediately if you suspect that someone is suffering from iron poisoning.
Anyone wishing to start a new medication or supplement should first discuss it with a doctor and pharmacist to ensure there will be no interactions with current medications or medical conditions. WebMD indicates that supplements containing iron, such as ferric orthophosphate, can interfere with the absorption of some medications.
Medications such as antibiotics, bisphosphonates used to treat bone loss, medication to treat Parkinson’s disease, medications for low thyroid function, medicines to treat high blood pressure, immunosuppressant drugs and medications for rheumatoid arthritis or Wilson’s disease can all be affected by iron supplements. The iron can lessen the effects of the medication.
Women who are pregnant or nursing usually do take a vitamin that contains iron such as ferric orthophosphate, but it should be discussed with a health care provider to ensure proper dosing.
The mineral is found in vitamins, supplements and athletic performance boosters. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning daily dosages. Keep all iron-containing products out of the reach of children.
Use the free supplement finder to locate and compare ferric orthophosphate products!