Iron deficiency – symptoms, balanced diet, and supplements

Iron deficiency may be the underlying cause of malaise, fatigue, pale skin, respiratory problems, and anemia. It is a vital nutrient that should be supplied to the body through a balanced diet. What factors contribute to iron deficiency? What is nutritious and contains iron? And how to quickly replenish the body’s iron stores?

Iron is a member of the group of micronutrients that are essential to the proper functioning of the human body. This element facilitates numerous crucial metabolic processes, such as oxygen transport and DNA synthesis. Iron also supports the function of muscles, including the heart, the most vital organ. In addition, it supports the body’s immune system in its fight against microbes and reduces feelings of fatigue and weariness. Iron deficiency cannot therefore be ignored.

Iron deficiency is a problem that can be caused by a variety of causes. These include:

  • blood loss – resulting, for example, from bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, respiratory system, trauma and surgery, or heavy menstruation in women;
  • increased demand – here the cause may be puberty, pregnancy or breastfeeding; 
  • impaired absorption from the gastrointestinal tract – celiac disease, H. pylori gastritis, autoimmune gastritis, diet with insufficient protein, frequent diarrhea;
  • improperly balanced diet – strict slimming diets, improperly composed vegetarian or vegan diet.

When iron is low, your body will not send a signal right away. Over time, characteristic symptoms will appear, such as:

  • dizziness and headaches,
  • accelerated heartbeat
  • fatigue,
  • pale skin,
  • shortness of breath
  • poor appetite or its complete lack,
  • greater than usual nail breakage.

How can iron deficiency be treated? If you have any troubling symptoms, you should have a blood count. Consider the iron, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels in the test. Below-normal results could indicate anemia caused by a deficiency in this element.

What has a lot of iron?

To avoid iron deficiency, it is important to consume a balanced diet. Iron is a common ingredient in the foods we consume daily. This element is primarily found in red meat, including beef, veal, and lamb. Also worthy of consideration are processed meats such as cold cuts, high-quality pates, and black pudding. Iron is also present in organ meats such as pork, beef, and chicken liver. Fish also contain iron, particularly sardines, herring, smoked cod, and smoked mackerel.

What about those who dislike or abstain from eating meat? They should incorporate into their diet chard, broad beans, beets, peas, dill, spinach, and parsley. Fruits also contain iron, particularly wild strawberries, black currants, and raspberries. Worth recalling! Consuming iron-rich foods alone may not be sufficient. This element must be effectively absorbed by the digestive system. An excessive consumption of coffee or tea is not helpful here. This could inhibit iron absorption. Additionally, a diet low in protein and high in oxalate, phosphate, and phytate is detrimental.

How to quickly replenish iron in the body?

Before taking iron supplements, however, it is advisable to consult a physician. The correct dosage is crucial. Iron cannot be overdosed via diet, but it can be via supplements. Constipation, a digestive disorder, may be the result.

Iron supplements are incompatible with certain medications. Before taking iron supplements, it is imperative to consult a specialist if you are already taking them!



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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