So what’s the big deal anyway?
You need iron to produce red blood cells. These deliver the most essential nutrient of them all, oxygen to all the cells of your body.
Low iron left unchecked and untreated can develop into iron deficiency anaemia, this is where you may notice symptoms of fatigue, weakness, pale skin and shortness of breath.
On top of this, iron levels affect cellular energy production, hormone production and detoxification pathways. If your levels are low your going to be feeling under the weather…all the time.
Iron is absolutely crucial for periods of growth, especially pregnancy, teenagers and for children six months to four years of age. If iron levels aren’t up to scratch in these special times, you might see suboptimal growth and development.
Do you have low iron? Read through these questions and take note of how many yes’s you have.
1. Do you feel tired or fatigued?
2. Do you feel weak?
3. Do your skin, nails or gums look pale of feel cold?
4. Do you get short of breath or breathe rapidly?
5. Do you get dizzy or lightheaded?
6. Is it difficult to concentrate?
7. Does your pulse race?
8. Do you have heart palpitations (are you conscious of your heart beat often?)
9. Is your menstrual cycle irregular
10. Do you have numbness or coldness in your hands and feet
11. Do you have Restless Legs that keep you up at night?
12. Are you irritable and grumpy?
13. Do you feel sad or depressed?
14. Do you suffer from recurring infections or colds?
15. Is you have haemoglobin levels less then 130 – 170 g/l for adult males and 120 – 150 g/l for adult females (you’ll get this in a blood test)
16. Have you ever been diagnosed with anaemia?
If you answered yes to five or more of these questions, you may have an underlying iron deficiency. We’ll have to test you to be sure. It’s important not to commence iron supplementation without consulting a health professional. I highly recommend you discuss this with your naturopath so we can further evaluate your iron status, and set you on the path to wellness.
You need to be especially vigilant if you’re
- an athlete
- a teenager
- have a digestive problem that affects nutrient absorption
- vegetarian or vegan
- have recently lost a lot of blood or continuously lose blood
If you’re a sandgroper and worried about your iron please drop into the Fremantle Markets and speak to a qualified Naturopath at the NatMed stall on the weekend. Otherwise contact the lovely reception girls at NatMed 9339 1999 and make an appointment.
Look after yourself
References: Hectman L, Hywood A, Newton T, Integria Pregnancy Intensive Handouts, Eagle 2014.