Are you at risk from low iron levels?

To supplement or not to supplement, that is the question - but when it comes to the mineral iron, essential for the transport of oxygen around the body, the figures speak for themselves. 

The most common mineral deficiency

According to the World Health Organisation, iron deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency worldwide.

Women are more at risk from low iron levels than men because of blood loss during menstruation.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show that as many as 91% of women aged 16-64 are not getting enough iron and one third of women have such low levels of this essential mineral that it affects their health.

One third of women have such low levels of this essential mineral that it affects their health

How do you know if you are low in iron?

Iron deficiency develops gradually with initial symptoms including tiredness and fatigue, general lack of energy and stamina; difficulty in concentrating; pale-looking skin, headaches and dry brittle nails. This is classed as a low-grade iron deficiency but if iron levels are not topped up, more serious iron depletion can occur which can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

It's all about absorption

In the case of this all-important mineral it’s all about absorption. Trying to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron, which is 14mg, through diet is not always easy as it is one of the most difficult minerals for our bodies to absorb. Also, everyone has a different rate of nutrient absorption, depending on the state of their health, digestive system and eating habits.

Ironically, many iron-rich foods contain, or are consumed with, substances which actually can inhibit the absorption of iron. Chief culprits include tannins found in tea, coffee and red wine or bran found in wheat, oats, maize and cereals.

Chief culprits which can inhibit iron absorption include tannins found in tea, coffee, red wine and bran

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Eat plenty of  iron-rich foods

It has been proven that Vitamin C does enhance the uptake of iron, so it is always a good idea to eat iron-rich foods with those that contain vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice. Foods that contain iron include:

  • shellfish
  • red meat
  • soya beans
  • almonds
  • spinach
  • sardines

Ask your GP for a test

If you think you may be low in iron, speak to your GP who can carry out a simple test. If there is a deficiency, you will probably be advised on how you can up your intake through your diet and, depending on the severity, you may also be recommended to take a supplement.

Many of the tablet supplements deliver a much higher dose of iron than your body needs which means your body will only absorb as much as is required and then excrete the rest which can result in unpleasant side effects such as constipation, nausea, headache.

Liquid iron supplements

A liquid iron supplement typically delivers a lower dose, with a much higher absorption rate, which means your body doesn't have to excrete as much and therefore avoids the unpleasant symptoms of some tablet supplements.

A win win!​

spatone product

Spatone Liquid Iron Supplement

Try this super-energising smoothie for a natural iron boost:

1 x 4-inch piece of cucumber, diced

Handful of spinach

¼ of avocado, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 kiwi, peeled and sliced

1-1.5 cups of water

1 sachet of Spatone Apple liquid iron supplement

Just blend all the ingredients for a refreshing and revitalising energy burst.

DISCLAIMER: The material presented on this website is not intended to replace the advice and recommendations from a qualified doctor or other health practitioner. Always consult your doctor or health practitioner if you have any health concerns and before embarking on any health, fitness or wellbeing programme. See my full Disclaimer here

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