If you are feeling fatigued and pale, a good place to check is the inside of bottom eyelids, are they pale too?

If so you may be lacking Iron as it is lost daily through sweat, skin shedding and any bleeding. 

Iron is needed for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Not enough Iron, not enough red blood cells that results in not enough oxygen, not enough brain power or energy! 

A point of interest, is that Iron is naturally lower in the blood in the afternoon, so that maybe a reason you may feel a little extra tired at that time. 

 

If I have low Iron, how would I feel?

This is a list of the most common symptoms of low Iron and some of them you will see are similar to having a hypothyroid condition.  So you may start to ask the question is it my thyroid or low iron? 

Lung                           Breathing difficulties

Skin                            Generalised itching

                                    Cracked corners of the mouth

                                    Mouth ulcers

                                    Sore tongue

                                    Brittle nails

                                    Thrush

                                    Hair loss

                                    Pimples/acne

Brain                          Disrupted sleep

                                    Dizziness

                                    Headaches

                                    Fatigue

                                    Depression

                                    Restless legs

 Immune System      Sinusitis

                                    Ear Infections

                                    Colds

                                    Thrush

                                    Chronic Herpes

Muscles                     Fatigue on exertion

                                    Restless legs

 

How much Iron do I need daily?

To compensate your normal daily use of iron you need to  absorb 1-2mg per day.

Iron is not very well absorbed and because of this it can make getting your Iron intake a challenge.  Especially as absorption can be easily affected by having low stomach acid and poor gut absorption which are quite common

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), for Women aged 31-50 is 18mg daily. For women over 50 they have a lower RDA of 8mg because they tend to be having sparse or no monthly period and therefore no longer losing blood on a regular basis.

When dosing with Iron, the standard upper level for Women aged 19 – 50 is recommended to be 45mg daily. This is of course a general blanket approach without testing for any deficiency.

 

How do I get more Iron? 

Dietary sources come in two different forms:

Iron form Meat (Heme iron) and from Plants (Non-heme iron)

 

The best sources of Meat Heme Iron are:

Clams, Beef, liver, kidney, oysters, poultry.

 

The best sources of Plant Non-Heme Iron are:

Almonds, apricots, avocado, parsley, pine nuts, soybeans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, red wine, wheat germ, yeast

Do a mental tally, do you include these items into your food on a daily basis?

Food

Serving size

Iron content

  Chicken liver

100g

11mg

  Beef

100g

3.5mg

  Kangaroo

100g

3.2mg

  Kidney beans

1 cup

3.1mg

  Green lentils

1 cup

3.0mg

  Tofu

100g

2.96mg

  Chickpeas

1 cup

2.7mg

  Lamb

100g

2.5mg

  Cashew nuts

30g (20 nuts)

1.5mg

  Salmon

100g

1.28mg

  Raw spinach

1 cup

1.2mg

  Tinned tuna

100g

1.07mg

  Rolled oats

30g

1.1mg

  Almonds

30g

1.1mg

  Lamb brains

100g

1.0mg

  Dried apricot

30g (5 dried apricots)

0.93mg

  Broccoli

1 cup

0.86mg

  Pork

100g

0.8mg

  Cooked brown rice

140g (1 cup)

0.7mg

  Chicken

100g

0.4mg

  Snapper

100g

0.3mg

 https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/iron/

 

Why might I be running low on Iron….

  • You may not be consuming enough Iron-containing foods
  • You may not be able to absorb Iron for various reasons (see below)
  • You are losing blood with heavy periods
  • You are pregnant
  • You may have abnormal bleeding that needs to be investigated, so please discuss potential risk factors with your Doctor, e.g. stomach ulcers, hookworm, tumours, ulcerative colitis, and bleeding haemorrhoids.
  • Use of NSAIDS, Nexium, and other ant-acids as they block Iron absorption

 

 

 What might be blocking your Iron?

  • Eating dairy products, especially milk and cheese can reduce Iron absorption as much as 60% (although it does depend on what you read) and for young infants and children this is more relevant.  So to be sure, take your Iron well away from these items. 
  • Beware Tea drinkers, the tannic acid also reduces Iron absorption from non-heme Iron. So drink your cup of tea an hour after eating or between meals.  
  • Phytates found in nuts, legumes, and grains may also affect iron absorption, as do egg whites. 
  • To absorb Iron properly it needs an acid environment in the stomach to change the iron structure into an absorbable for the small intestine. If the stomach acid is not strong and someone is taking Nexium or ant-acids, this can lead to poor iron absorption. 
  • Bleeding conditions such as heavy periods, blood in the stool, or bleeding haemorrhoids. It could be a stomach ulcer, bleeding nose, or recurrent bruising. 
  • The mineral called Molybdenum in the body may be deficient due to a block by another mineral called Copper.  Molybdenum is a part of an enzyme that helps with the release of iron from cellular ferritin.
  • Reduced Hepcidin activity. This is the key regulator of iron balance in the body and oral iron supplements increase hepcidin. When there is more hepcidin produced, there is less ability for Iron to be absorbed. If you take iron in the morning it will raise the hepcidin level and it will remain raised.  So if you are to dose later that day and you will absorb less in that dose.  This has been found with doses of 60mg or more of Iron Sulphate and so it maybe more beneficial to have Iron every second day if you are taking more than 60mg per day.  

 

Iron tests and what do my results mean? 

Pop on over to my blog on Iron Pathology to find out what your Iron results mean.

 

 

If you’d like to know more about this or other topics, you are welcome to join my free membership on face book. Thyroid, Metabolic, Hormone Harmony Hub. 

 

I’d love to see you there

 

Inspiring Wellness

 

Beth  

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