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Iron deficiency: Who needs more iron?

Symptoms of iron deficiency– Dark circles under the eyes, fatigue and muscle weakness, increased infections, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, poor concentration, Low, listless mood, dizziness, cold hands and feet, chest pain during exercise, restless legs, feeling grumpy, Headaches and Problems concentrating or thinking. As the iron deficiency gets worse, symptoms may include: Blue color to the whites of the eyes, Brittle nails, Light-headedness when you stand up, Pale skin color, Shortness of breath, Sore tongue. Iron deficiency occurs more frequently in women than in men. Menstruating women lose iron every month, and pregnant women need to supply extra iron to their babies.

Iron deficiency and anemia- It is estimated that 400 million women in the world are anemic, and more than a billion are low in iron. Unfortunately, the billion low in iron are often unaware they are iron deficient. Iron stores (checked with a test called serum ferritin) need to be almost completely depleted before a lower red blood cell count (anemia) will develop.

One of iron’s main functions is to carry oxygen in the red blood cells to tissues throughout the body. Why do exhaustion and other deficiency symptoms set in before anemia is diagnosed? Iron is also needed to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel for each cell. If the body is low on fuel, it won’t run optimally. Iron is also needed for variety of enzymes involved in proper brain, liver, and thyroid function; synthesis of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone; and heart health.

Who needs more iron? It isn’t jut women who need iron, however. There are increased needs during growth (children, adolescents, pregnant women); due to the menstrual cycle or increased athletic activity; when there is decreased absorption of iron ( in seniors or those with digestive problems); and in those with inadequate intake (calorie restricted diets, vegetarians, those not eating balanced meals). Iron deficiency in men is primarily found in athletes, growing boys, and seniors. More iron isn’t always better Neither iron deficiency nor iron overload is beneficial to the body. Too much iron also cause problems.

This may help in iron deficiency – Taking supplements and eating iron-rich foods are important parts of treating iron deficiency. Iron supplements (most often ferrous sulfate) are needed to build up the iron stores in your body.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women will need to take extra iron because their normal diet usually will not provide the amount they need. Iron-rich foods include: Dried lentils, peas, beans, Eggs (yolk), Fish, Meats (liver is the highest source), Soybeans, Whole-grain bread, Raisins, prunes, and apricots, Spinach, kale, and other greens.