Iron deficiency - How to recognize it & what you can do against it
May 03, 20234 min read
Tiredness, exhaustion, hair loss - all these can be signs of an iron deficiency. Especially women, vegetarians, athletes and seniors suffer from a low iron balance.
Iron is one of the most important trace elements and ensures good mood and performance. But not only that! Iron has many other health benefits, which is why it should be one of your priorities to make sure you get enough iron.
When you have an iron deficiency, the number of iron-containing red blood cells decreases. These only live for about 120 days, but the human body is able to recycle the trace element from degraded blood cells. Otherwise, about 25 milligrams would be lost every day - far more than we can absorb through food. The body does not actively excrete iron, but certain amounts of the trace element are still lost through dead cells of the gastrointestinal tract and small bleeding.
Learn how to tell if you have an iron deficiency and what you can do to prevent it.
What are actually the functions of iron?
Iron is a vital trace element with many important functions in our body, including:
essential for the oxygen supply
strengthens the immune system
keeps nails, hair and skin healthy
ensures a functioning immune system
What types of iron deficiency are there?
An iron deficiency is always present when more iron is consumed or excreted than the body absorbs. The iron balance is therefore negative. Depending on how much iron is consumed or excreted and how much iron is replenished through food, there can be a mild, moderate or severe iron deficiency. An iron deficiency can therefore have varying degrees of impact on how we feel and on our general state of health. If the deficiency is only slight and of short duration, the associated symptoms are hardly noticeable or not noticeable at all. Moderate and severe deficiencies, on the other hand, have serious effects on health.
Mild iron deficiency
In the case of a slight iron deficiency, the store is already attacked, but this does not yet affect the formation of red blood cells.
Moderate iron deficiency
A moderate deficiency exists when there is already a slight anaemia, i.e. the onset of anaemia.
Severe iron deficiency
Iron deficiency anaemia or severe iron deficiency is characterised by clear anaemia. Haemoglobin is only produced in small quantities by the body because iron is missing as a starting material. The red blood cells are reduced in size and number. The stores are completely exhausted.
What are the causes of iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency, in short, can happen due to 3 main factors:
Due to possible nutritional deficiencies
Increased iron loss
Increased iron requirements
What are typical signs of iron deficiency?
Exhaustion & fatigue
Dry & rough skin
Weakness of the immune system
Brittle & cracked nails
Torn corners of the mouth
Loss of appetite
How much iron does your body need?
The daily iron requirement depends on your stage of life, lifestyle, diet and many other factors. In general, women have a higher iron requirement than men - due to blood loss during menstruation.
15 to under 19 years: 12mg
19 to 65 years and older: 10mg
15 to under 51 years: 15mg
51 to 65 years and older: 10mg
Women need more iron during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We recommend that you talk to your doctor about your personal iron needs and have a blood test to see if you have an iron deficiency.
How can you prevent an iron deficiency?
There are many iron-rich foods that ensure an adequate supply of the trace element. You should make sure that you eat iron-rich foods regularly.
Iron-rich foods include, for example:
Animal sources of iron:
Egg yolk: 7.2mg
Chicken meat: 1.3mg
Meat of lamb, pork, veal: 1.9-0.9-1mg
Plant sources of iron
Cereals, nuts and seeds
Wheat bran: 16mg
Lentils, dried: 8mg
2. Take iron in combination with vitamin C
However, the intake of iron from plant foods can be influenced by promoting and inhibiting substances. However, vegetarians and vegans can increase the absorption capacity two- to fourfold even with small amounts of vitamin C.
Vegetarians and vegans often pay more attention to a varied and wholesome diet. This may be the reason why the iron intake of vegetarians and vegans is usually as high as or even higher than that of people with a mixed diet.
3. Do not take iron in combination with these products
The following foods can hinder the absorption of iron:
Black and green tea, coffee
Cola and other phosphate-containing foods
Rhubarb, spinach, beetroot and other foods rich in oxalic acid
Cereals, rice, soy
4. Take iron supplements
The most reliable way to make sure you get enough iron is by taking iron supplements.
Our iron supplement is combined with vitamin C and is therefore particularly bioavailable and effective.
We recommend that you take the supplement as early as possible, before breakfast. This way the body can absorb the most of it. If you take iron at another time of day, the last meal should have been at least two hours ago. At least one hour should pass before the next meal.
Have you had enough iron today?
Iron is one of the most important trace elements and should never be missing from your health routine. Make sure you eat iron-rich foods or pamper your body with natural iron supplements. And don't forget: Always take it in combination with vitamin C!
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