Iron is an essential nutrient involved in the production of red blood cells. A deficiency of iron in the body can result in anemia, which is the reduction of the number of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the blood. This condition can cause weakness, pale skin, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, anemia can lead to organ damage. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat iron deficiency, including eating more iron-rich foods or taking an iron supplement.
What Is Iron Deficiency?
Iron is an essential mineral that the body cannot produce on its own. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting up to 30 percent of the global population. Iron helps the body create red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to the body’s cells. It can also help the body produce energy, and it plays an important role in maintaining good health.
Iron deficiency is a common problem that affects people of all ages, especially women and children. This is a common problem for women, particularly during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills. Women who suffer from menstrual problems or who are not menstruating regularly may also be at risk. If you are anemic, you will have fewer red blood cells in your blood, and fewer oxygen-rich red blood cells can mean less energy.
Sad to say that many people are affected by iron deficiency every year. So, what are the effects of iron deficiency? Iron is used by the body to make hemoglobin and myoglobin (muscle fibers) and to help the body make and store energy. Low levels of iron in the body can result in shortness of breath, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, and pale skin. Muscle weakness can lead to easy fatigability and decreased work productivity.
Getting More Iron
Getting enough iron is important for your body. Iron is an essential mineral used to carry oxygen in your red blood cells, and it is also key to the production of energy, enzymes, and cellular function. It is a crucial part of many processes and an obvious component in blood. However, just like many other important minerals, your body does not store iron, so you need to get it from the foods you eat.
Healthy diet choices with various foods are the best way to get the iron you need for a healthy body. Your body only absorbs a certain amount of non-heme iron, which is the type found in plants. Heme iron is found in meat and is more easily absorbed.
Is Iron Deficiency Fatal?
Iron deficiency is usually less severe than anemia. It still has vital consequences. Iron deficiency anemia is often mild, and some people may not even know they have it. Others may have symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, or an irregular heartbeat. Iron deficiency also may be a contributing factor in conditions related to poor oxygen delivery to the cells, such as heart failure and diabetes.
While iron deficiency is rarely fatal, it can be detrimental to your health if left untreated. Iron deficiency anemia affects the growth and development of children and can cause fatigue, mood swings, and shortness of breath in adults. Getting enough iron from your diet is the simplest way to prevent deficiency. The foods that provide the most iron include meat, seafood, poultry, dried beans, tofu, and spinach. If your diet isn’t sufficient, you may need to take a supplement.
How Can Supplements Help?
The human body contains about 4 grams of iron, and when the iron levels in the body are depleted, we are considered to be anemic. Anemia affects approximately 10% of the world’s population, which totals over 1.6 billion people. When our bodies do not have enough iron, we feel tired, we may have a short temper, and we may experience shortness of breath.
The best way to get enough iron is to eat a varied diet rich in iron-rich foods like red meat, fish, and poultry. Alternative sources include iron-fortified breakfast cereals and bread. But what if you can’t absorb enough iron from foods? Then it may be time to turn to supplements.
An iron supplement can help people who are anemic, but not only that. It can also prevent you from ever becoming anemic. These supplements are usually in the form of a pill and usually contain iron, folic acid, zinc, and B vitamins. Your doctor may recommend supplements to help you meet your daily iron needs. Supplements are not meant to replace the iron found in food; they are meant to enhance your nutrition.