Iron Deficiency: and why you feel so tired

Iron deficiency is really common these days. This amazing mineral assists with haemoglobin production for our red blood cells and supports cell oxygenation. It supports our immune system and keeps us full of energy. However, I see iron deficiency quite frequently in clinical practice, especially in children. 

It’s easy to identify iron deficiency signs and symptoms. They include:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Easy shortness of breath on exertion
  • Poor immunity (always getting coughs and colds)
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Brittle hair
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Digestive problems
  • Pale skin
  • Nervousness
  • Foggy brain

 When clients tell me that they can’t absorb iron, it’s my role to identify what is causing this problem and rectify it. Even if your diet is high in iron, there are many possible reasons for your underlying deficiency. 

Here are some common causes of iron deficiency:

Inadequate production of Digestive enzymes:

The body requires specific nutrients to assist production of Hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes for optimal iron absorption. To determine any underlying deficiencies, a thorough dietary assessment is taken.

Competing nutrients:

Iron uptake can be inhibited by supplementation of zinc, vitamin E or calcium, especially if they are taken in high doses. It is important that you take these away from your iron rich meals. Diets high in phosphorus prevent iron absorption as well. There are lots of foods containing phosphorus, including processed foods, soft drinks, dairy, meat, nuts, some vegetables, legumes and eggs.

Malabsorption issues:

Mainly food intolerances, stomach ulcers or inflammatory bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease. Recent surgery and/or prolonged use of antibiotics can also affect the gut’s absorption ability. Weight loss, bloating, fluid retention and diarrhoea are commonly seen here.

Digestive Dysbiosis:

In the presence of any underlying infection or inflammation, bacteria rely on iron to multiply. As protection, the liver hides iron away and prevents its release to the tissues. This occurs in conditions such as H pylori, and SIBO, but can also occur in other conditions that aren’t related to digestion. It is important not to take iron supplements at this time. It’s best to get the condition treated and heal the gut first.

Heavy metal toxicity:

Beneficial minerals and harmful minerals (known as heavy metals) have a delicate interplay in the body. You will find lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury in lots of everyday items. These include hair dyes, cosmetics, fish, non-organic plant foods and pollution from fossil fuels. They are absorbed and inhibit uptake of iron and other minerals, such as zinc and calcium. This creates deficiencies and subsequent health problems.The easy solution is to eat lots of organic green leafy vegetables, lean animal proteins, eggs and whole grains. That way, you are getting the right balance of nutrients to assist optimal iron uptake to the cells. But if that hasn’t worked, perhaps it’s time to delve deeper…Recognise any iron deficiency symptoms that you may have? Or difficulty with iron absorption?  Feel free to contact me on 0402 539 020 to investigate this further. Relief could be just around the corner!Yours in Health,Lynda. 

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