People often do not realize that they have an iron deficiency until they start to exhibit symptoms. They start to appear pale, find they are fatigued all day, and have trouble exercising. Being low in iron might also leave you with a shortness of breath, a fast heartbeat, a sore tongue and mouth, cold hands and feet, brittle nails and hair, or an odd craving for dirt or clay. In some severe cases, you will have difficulty swallowing. A simple blood test can determine if you have a deficiency. If you are pregnant it is recommended that you get tested regularly.
If you feel as though you have low iron, you should try eating more iron-rich foods like fortified cereals, dried fruit, beans, or red meat. This may be adequate to fulfill your needs. If not, then you can supplement with iron supplements. If you are taking the supplement because of severe deficiencies, you should get regular blood tests done to monitor your improvement.