All About Iron Deficiency
I was recently asked what natural alternatives are to elevate iron levels. Great question! I wasnt 100% clear myself so I went and did some research. Here is what I found!
WHAT IS IT?
Iron Deficiency is a condition that develops when the body does not have enough iron.
Iron is responsible in transferring the oxygen in the blood (in the form of hemoglobin) from the lungs to the rest of the body.
WHY IS IRON IMPORTANT?
It is vital for optimal functioning of the immune system.
When there is not enough iron, the body makes fewer and smaller red blood cells and so less oxygen is delivered to the body. (Equals tiredness)
Keeping a healthy amount of iron in the body will prevent the risk of developing anemia.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Babies, toddlers and children (periods of rapid growth)
Women who experience a monthly menstrual cycle.
Those who have insufficient iron in diet
Those who poorly absorb iron
Periods of ongoing blood loss
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Tiredness and fatigue
Brittle hair and nails
Cold hands and feet
Sadness or depression
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT?
Because it is possible to take too much iron as a supplement (this is NOT good) you would need to consult a doctor first. They will do what they do (physical exam, blood tests, etc) to find out how much iron is in your blood.
Since there are various reasons your body may not be absorbing iron, it is a good idea to find out the reason WHY. This may require the support of a skilled naturopath or homeopath.
FOODS TO EAT, FOODS TO AVOID
Dietary iron comes in two forms - heme iron (found only in animal meats) and non-heme iron (found in plants)
Sardines, Beef, Liver, Poultry, Organ meats
Lentils, beans, peas
Dark, leafy greens - spinach, chard
Nuts - seeds
AVOID - coffee, carbonated drinks, dairy, processed foods.
Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron:
As for supplementation, ONLY move forward with supplementing iron with a doctors approval. Iron poisoning (which is caused by taking large quantities of iron supplements) can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, shock and liver failure. It is rare to store too much iron in the body from food alone.
Many people experience abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, nausea from taking doctor prescribed iron supplements. There is a natural product called Floradix Formula which has received a lot of great reviews.
In my opinion, it is always better to get nutrients from food sources - it is the way your body best knows how to absorb the minerals and nutrients.
If you have any questions about this, please let me know!