Iron Deficiency

Article by Joshua Plaatjes

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Anemia occurs when the level of red blood cells in your blood is lower than normal. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia, and occurs when your body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron(Fe). Your body needs iron to make a protein called hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying the oxygen to your body’s tissues and muscles that is essential for them to function effectively. When there isn’t enough iron in your blood stream, the rest of your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs.

While the condition may be common, a lot of people don’t know they have iron deficiency anemia. It’s possible to experience the symptoms for years without ever knowing the cause. There are many things that cause iron deficient anemia. These include inadequate iron intake, pregnancy, blood loss due to menstruation, internal bleeding, and an inability to absorb iron.   A poor diet, or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron, can also cause iron deficiency anemia.

Doctors normally treat the condition with iron supplements or changes to diet.

People have the misconception that if they lack iron in their body, they just need an iron injection, but what most of them don't realise is that our body, as well as our cells, don't effectively absorb this iron.

A way of helping the absorption of iron is by adding a Vitamin C to your daily dietary intake. Egg yolks, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds and iron-fortified food products contain nonheme iron, which is less efficiently absorbed than heme iron, or the type found in meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Vitamin C helps release a higher percentage of iron from nonheme sources, thereby boosting your body’s ability to absorb more iron from these foods than it would otherwise. Vitamin C also helps overcome the adverse effects of the phytonutrients that inhibit nonheme iron absorption.

So if you suffer from the symptoms:

  1. - general fatigue
  2. - weakness
  3. - pale skin
  4. - shortness of breath
  5. - dizziness
  6. - strange cravings to eat items that aren’t food, such as dirt, ice, or clay
  7. - a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
  8. - tongue swelling or soreness
  9. - cold hands and feet
  10. - fast or irregular heartbeat
  11. - brittle nails
  12. - headaches

Do yourselves a massive favour and go to a clinic and measure your iron levels, and if it's seen that you're iron deficient go and pick up an iron supplement. And don't forget your Vitamin C!

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