Do Women Need Iron After Menopause?

Iron. Some women may have too much of it. And that, according to a recent study, may induce some types of heart disease, because an excess of iron can cause irregular heartbeat and disorders of the heart muscle.

A woman is relatively better protected than a man against heart disease until after menopause. Two things happen at the time: Estrogen levels drop and iron is no longer lost in her monthly menstrual cycle. That usually removes the need for iron supplements. The situation, however, is not that simple. Tens of thousands of older women eat so sparingly that they require iron supplements to avoid iron-deficiency anemia.

After menopause, be certain youre eating a balanced diet. If it is balanced, meat consumption can be limited to three ounces three times a week, because meat is high in iron. And more fibrous foods and cereals can be added, because they absorb iron.

But dont decide on your own what to do. Let your doctor assess your needs.

Robin Westen writes about health for national magazines.

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