Iron supplements can help increase blood oxygen levels, according to WebMD. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the United States, and almost 10 percent of women suffer from iron deficiency.
People with iron deficiency can often feel exhausted and winded even if they are otherwise healthy, and women are especially susceptible to iron deficiency. The reason that the body needs iron is to help transport oxygen. Iron is an important part of hemoglobin, which is the part of red blood cells that actually carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Two-thirds of the body's total iron is in hemoglobin, as reported by WebMD, and when the body is iron deficient, it can't make enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen. This leads to a condition known as iron deficiency anemia.
A lack of oxygen in the blood causes fatigue, which can affect brain function as well as the ability of the immune system to fight infections. In pregnant women, being severely iron deficient can also increase the risk of premature birth, according to WebMD.
Iron also has other uses, including the maintenance of hair, skin and nails, as explained by WebMD. The amount of iron needed to function depends on age, gender and overall health. However, babies need more than adults, and children of both genders need the same amount. Women need more iron starting in adolescence.