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Iron Deficiency Anemia

Written on May 12, 2021 by the NB Pure team

Medical Data sourced from National Institute of Health

Iron Deficiency Anemia

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 30% of the world's population suffers from Iron Deficiency Anemia.

Iron is a mineral that the human body needs for growth and development. It is incredibly essential to your health. 

The human body uses iron to make hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Myoglobin is a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Iron is located in all cells but most iron is found in the red blood cells. 

Your body also needs iron to make some hormones.

When there is an iron deficiency, the red blood cells cannot effectively provide oxygen to the cells and tissues of the human body. This can cause many health problems.

This is one of the more common health challenges amongst people, especially women or those that are born a woman. It's important to be able to recognize Iron Deficiency Anemia. Speak to a health care professional on customizable treatments, medical attention, and a plan of action to help treat it and diagnose it.  

 

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Often times, because these symptoms can be minor, an iron deficiency can go unnoticed or undetected. If you think you have an iron deficiency, it is best to speak to your health care professional. This is something that can be tested easily through blood work at a regular well visit. 

Symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia

 

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is caused when there is not enough iron in a person's red blood cells. There can be many causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia, but here are the more common ones according to the CDC:

Chronic Blood Bloss

This can stem from hernias, ulcers, colon issues, and some cancers, like colorectal cancer. 

Overtime, chronic bleeding reduces the amount of iron in the body, so that the bone marrow is not able to increase production of new red blood cells to replace those lost, which can cause even further challenges.

Heavy Menstrual Cycles

When people lose blood, they lose iron. Menstrual blood contains high levels of iron, and a person who regularly loses a lot of blood has a high risk of developing Iron Deficiency Anemia. 

Endometriosis

Endometriosis People with endometriosis are at a higher risk factor of developing iron deficient anemia than the rest of the general population. 

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body supplies blood and oxygen to a fetus, therefore the need for iron goes up to keep up with the increase in the blood supply. Pregnant people will need about twice the amount of iron than a non pregnant person, which is around 27 mg per day. 

Miscarriage

A miscarriage can add additional blood loss, which in turns causes one to lose more iron. 

A Lack of Iron in the Diet

We get iron from the foods that we eat and the supplements that we take. If the human body isn't getting enough of these things, it will cause a deficiency. 

Celiac's Disease

This disease effects the intestine's ability to absorb iron from the nutrients of the digested food. 

 

    Iron Sources

    We get iron from the foods that we eat and the dietary supplement choices that we make. 

    Iron is dominant in these foods:

    • Red meat
    • Poultry
    • Seafood
    • Dark leafy greens like spinach
    • Eggs
    • Peas 
    • Broccoli
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Beans
    • Enriched breads
    • Strawberries
    • Watermelon

     

    How Much Iron Do You Need?

    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the iron you get from both the food you eat and any supplements taken.

    CHILDREN

    7-12 months

    11 mg/day

    1-3 years

    7 mg/day

    4-8 years

    10 mg/day

    9-13 years

    8 mg/day

    MALES

    14-18 years

    11 mg/day

    19 years and up

    8 mg/day

    FEMALES

    14-18 years

    15 mg/day

    19-50 years

    18 mg/day

    51 years and over

    8 mg/day

    Pregnant

    27 mg/day

    Breastfeeding 

    Under 19 years: 10 mg/day

     

    19 years and over: 9 mg/day

     

    If you find yourself not being able to hit the mark of the recommended amounts of iron needed, an iron supplement will help.

    Avoid the gummy supplement kind. As it turns out, there are qualities of iron that make it difficult to mold into a tasty, colorful gummy.

    Many other manufactures who sell gummy multi-vitamins, do not even add iron to them. Remember that gummy vitamins are there to look and taste like candy, and because of their gummy binding agents, often times they fall short on the actual amounts of vitamins you're supposed to receive. 

     

    Does Iron Cause Constipation?

    Possibly. The side effects of taking an iron supplement can include constipation, black stools, stomach aches, and nausea. One way to alleviate any constipation is to include more fiber or a fiber supplement into the day. 

    A fiber supplement that contains soluble and insoluble fiber is one you want to look for. 

    What is the difference between Soluble and Insoluble fiber?

    With soluble fiber, as it dissolves, it will create a gel like substance that may improve digestion in a plethora of ways. 

    Insoluble fiber attracts water into your stool. With the addition of water present, it will make it easier and softer to pass stools with less strain on your bowel. Insoluble fiber can help promote bowel health and regularity. It also supports insulin sensitivity, and, like soluble fiber, may help reduce your risk for diabetes.

    We highly recommend Daily Multi Fiber, as it is the only product on the market that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. 

     

    Overview

    Iron Deficiency Anemia is a very common health challenge amongst people across the globe. The best way to figure out treatment options or if you have it is to speak to a medical professional. Testing is easy. Treatment can be as low maintenance as adding an iron supplement into your daily vitamin regime. If the iron supplement causes constipation, add a fiber supplement and you'll be good to go.