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What can increased iron levels do for you?

Low Iron Symptoms

Low Energy, Chronic Fatigue

Low energy, often experienced as chronic fatigue syndrome, is the most common symptom of low iron. This occurs because iron is essential for transporting oxygen throughout the body, which is necessary for powering metabolism. Low iron results in low oxygen levels, leading to fatigue.

Chewing Ice or other Non-food Items

People with low iron often crave non-food items, a condition called pica, with ice chewing being the most common. This may help increase alertness, countering the reduced alertness caused by low iron. Further research on this is anticipated.

Hair Loss, Brittle Nails, & Pale Skin

Low iron can cause hair loss, pale skin, and brittle nails due to reduced oxygen flow to hair roots and skin/nail cells, which need oxygen to generate new growth. Iron is also essential for producing keratin and biotin, crucial for healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Always Feeling Cold

Low iron can cause people to feel cold, especially in winter. This happens because low iron impairs blood flow, preventing the body from warming up properly. The effect is most noticeable in the hands and feet, which are the last to receive circulating blood.

Anxiety, Depression, & Brain Fog

Low iron can cause neurological issues like depression, anxiety, and brain fog. This is because iron aids in delivering oxygen to the brain and synthesizing neurotransmitters like dopamine. Poor oxygen flow and impaired dopamine processing can lead to anxiety, brain fog, lack of focus, and depression.

Restless Legs

Restless legs syndrome is an uncomfortable and hard-to-describe sensation in the legs. It usually causes people to experience the urge to move or tap their legs. This erratic behavior is a response to low dopamine, poor oxygen flow, and stressed muscles.

At Risk Groups

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People who Menstruate

Menstruating individuals are at risk of iron deficiency due to monthly blood loss, which depletes red blood cells and iron stores. Conditions like heavy periods can worsen the issue, with low ferritin levels both causing and worsening heavy menstruation. Recognizing this cycle is crucial for managing iron levels effectively.

Pregnant & Breastfeeding Mothers

Pregnant and nursing mothers are at risk of iron deficiency because the growing fetus and breastfed baby rely on their iron stores for development. Miscarriage, childbirth, and breastfeeding further deplete iron levels. Adequate iron intake is vital for both the mother's and baby's health during this period.

Seniors

Seniors, especially those with conditions like arthritis, are susceptible to iron deficiency due to chronic inflammation. Iron deficiency can worsen inflammation and lead to anemia. Monitoring iron levels is crucial for managing these health challenges effectively.

Vegans & Vegetarians

Vegans and vegetarians are at risk of iron deficiency because they don't consume meat, which contains heme iron that is more easily absorbed. Non-heme iron in vegan foods is less readily absorbed. To reduce this risk, vegans can consider taking an iron supplement and pairing non-heme iron with vitamin C to enhance absorption.

Children & Teens

Children and teens are at risk of iron deficiency due to poor dietary habits, insufficient iron stores, and the high-iron demands of growth spurts. A balanced diet with iron-rich foods is crucial for their growth and development. Early detection and intervention are vital to prevent complications. Investing in building your child's iron stores will benefit their health in the long run.

Runners & Athletes

Runners, particularly endurance athletes, are prone to iron deficiency due to factors like inflammation and foot-strike hemolysis, which breaks down red blood cells. The physical strain of long-distance running increases iron needs and can lead to depletion. To maintain peak performance and health, athletes should prioritize proper nutrition and regular monitoring of iron levels.

Bariatric Surgery & Cancer Patients

Individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass or sleeve surgery, are at risk of iron deficiency due to impaired absorption, especially if the small intestine is bypassed. Similarly, cancer patients also are at risk for iron deficiency due to how medicine can interfere with absorption and blood production.

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