HOW TO RECOGNIZE A SHORTAGE OF IRON
Iron is an mineral that is essential to the health of humans and other organisms. It stimulates the muscle and brain function, metabolic processes and, most importantly, the formation of haemoglobin (1
). Haemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen and CO2 through our blood. The iron in haemoglobin gives our red blood cells their red colour.
Iron is a important mineral to the human body. Since our body is unable to create this vitamin itself, we need to get iron from our foods. We gain our iron from heme-rich foods
like fish, red meats and poultry. We can also absorb iron from plants, which contain non-heme iron. Plant-based foods which contain the most iron are (soy)beans, legumes, green-leaved vegetables, plankton and dried apricots (4
). Some heme-rich foods aren’t as easily absorbed by the human body that other heme-sources.
One way to increase your intake of iron is to eat more vitamin C in combination with iron-rich foods. The vitamin C helps to absorb the element (5
). In other cases you might need to take supplements to increase your iron intake.
There are certain groups of people that have a higher risk of creating a iron deficiency. Those people may benefit from using iron supplements next to their daily meals. It is, however, important to note that if you suspect you have a iron deficiency, you should always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
People with a higher risk of obtaining an iron deficiency are:
- Pregnant women
- Menstruating women
- Top athletes
- People taking iron depleting medicine
- People with ADHD
A shortage of iron can be recognized by the following symptoms. If you experience one of the symptoms, it may be wise to consult a physician.