One of the nutrition most common nutritional issues among women is iron deficiency induced anemia. A fifth of all-American women have anemia and more than half of all pregnant women show signs of iron deficiency.
How Iron is Used in the Body
Iron is an essential mineral in the production of strong, healthy red blood cells. A deficiency in iron results in low levels of hemoglobin in the body’s red blood cells. When your hemoglobin levels are low because of iron deficiency, your red blood cells have difficulty transporting oxygen throughout your body.
However, iron deficiency also affects your red blood cells in several other ways. When your iron levels are low, the bone marrow is prevented from producing both red blood cells and hemoglobin at the required rate to meet the demands of your body. In addition, the physical appearance of the red blood cells changes from large and bright red to a paler hue and smaller in size.
Signs of Iron Deficiency
You may experience tell-tell signs of a possible iron deficiency (and potential anemia) that may include a general weakness, shortness of breath, pale skin, low appetite, lightheadedness, a sore or inflamed tongue, headaches and nausea, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and brittle nails. Many people suffering from iron deficiency also note an uncontrollable urge to move the legs that often disrupts sleep. In severe cases, people may develop pica – the urge to eat substances that are inedible, such as dirt, laundry detergent and other things.
Why Do You Have an Iron Deficiency?
Diets that are low in iron or malnutrition are a leading cause of iron deficiency in many people. Iron deficiency is often linked to the amount of meat consumed in a diet. Individuals that follow vegan and vegetarian diets often have higher rates of iron deficiency than those who consume meat as a staple diet. In addition, modern farming practices deplete the levels of important minerals from the soil. As a result, traditionally iron rich foods may have significantly lower levels of assumed nutrient content based on the available iron levels in the soils where the food originated.
The major cause of iron deficiency in women is also a result of consistent heavy menstrual periods or bleeding during childbirth. However, many other causes can affect females, males and even children. The other known causes that increase iron deficiency include bladder cancer, blood loss, colon polyps, colorectal cancer, hookworms, hemorrhoid bleeding, hiatal hernia bleeding, kidney cancer, peptic ulcer bleeding and uterine fibroids.
Intestinal disorders like celiac disease or Crohn’s can affect the absorption of iron and result in low hemoglobin levels. Malabsorption conditions, removal of parts of the intestine and intestinal bypass surgery can also hinder the absorption of iron.
Healthcare providers often recommend iron supplementation to relieve the side effects of iron deficiency and reverse the effects of low hemoglobin levels. Depending on the level of deficiency, the quality of the supplement and other factors that pertain to nutrient uptake, it could take four months to relieve the signs and reverse low hemoglobin levels.
Those with iron deficiencies are at a significantly higher rate of physical and mental delays, delayed growth, issues with wound healing, and cardiovascular issues.
Choosing an Iron Supplement
When it comes to iron supplementation, there are numerous choices out there created by different brands in every form from liquid to capsule to tablet and so on. Determining which iron supplement to use comes down to the quality of the supplement ingredients, the amount of nutrient within the supplement and the availability of your body to absorb the supplement. The average iron supplement tablet has an absorption rate between 10-30%, meaning 70-90% of the supplement is wasted by the body. At Mineralife, we focus on creating high quality, liquid ionic iron supplement combined with CHD-FA fulvic acid that provide an overall absorption rate of up to 100% of the nutrient.