How do you feel when your iron is low?

7 Unusual Signs of Iron Deficiency

1. Extreme fatigue and exhaustion “Fatigue is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency because it means your body is having trouble carrying the oxygen to your cells so it’s affecting your energy levels,” Thayer says.

People lacking enough iron in their blood often feel sluggish, weak, and unable to focus. Though fatigue can be the sign of numerous conditions, if it does not go away with adequate rest, consider having your iron levels checked.

2. Frequent infections Iron plays a key role in a healthy immune system, so lower levels of the mineral can make someone more susceptible to infections. “Red blood cells help to transport oxygen to the spleen, which is one place where infections can be fought off,” Dr. Murr says.

Red blood cells also carry oxygen to the lymph nodes, which house infection-fighting white blood cells. “When someone has an iron deficiency, the white blood cells aren’t being produced as well, and they’re not as strong because they’re not getting enough oxygen, making that person more susceptible to infections,” she says.

3. Pale skin Hemoglobin gives skin its rosy color, so low levels cause the skin to become lighter.

“When red blood cells become low in iron, they become smaller and paler in the center so skin also becomes paler,” Murr says. This may be easier to detect in people with lighter complexions, but no matter what your skin tone, if the area inside your bottom eyelid is lighter than normal, this may be a sign of iron deficiency.

4. Swollen tongue Changes to your tongue, including soreness or swelling, can be a sign of iron deficiency. Cracks on the side of the mouth are also common among people with iron deficiency.

5. Restless Legs Syndrome Some people who have iron deficiency develop restless legs syndrome, a disorder that causes you to have a strong urge to move your legs. The urge often comes with an unpleasant, crawling sensation in the legs that can make it hard to sleep.

6. Pica People with iron deficiency may develop cravings for non-food substances, such as clay, dirt, or chalk, a condition known as pica.

However, submitting to your cravings and eating these substances could be harmful, as it may lead to the ingestion of harmful toxins and substances. “Eating clay, chalk, and dirt can actually interfere with absorption of iron,” says Murr.

7. Hair loss Iron deficiency, especially when it develops into anemia, can cause hair loss. “When hair follicles don’t get enough oxygen, they go into a resting stage, and hair falls out and doesn’t grow back until anemia is improved,” Murr says. It is normal to lose about 100 strands of hair per day. However, if you notice your hair loss is excessive and it is not growing back, this may be a sign of iron deficiency.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms and think you may be iron deficient, speak to your doctor. He or she can help you get to the root cause of your iron deficiency, find ways to include more iron-rich foods in your diet, and determine whether you need to take supplemental iron.

Q: Can Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?

A. Iron is really important for hair growth and hair health. When we see patients who are experiencing hair loss, we often perform labs to screen for iron deficiency. It’s not uncommon for us to find iron to be low in women.

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Iron is especially for women of child-bearing age who have monthly periods and who may or may not get a lot of iron in their diet.

Besides menstruation, there are other factors that can cause women to be low in iron. Heavy exercise, such as running or high impact aerobic exercise, can cause small tears in your joints or the lining of your stomach — and this can lead to some anemia or loss of iron. Additionally, chronic illnesses can cause your body to hold on to iron.

Many women avoid red meat, which is our best source of iron. If you are a meat eater, the best way to address this problem is to get two 4-ounce portions of red meat per week. This small amount should be enough to maintain healthy levels of iron.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can eat beans, spinach, and other dark leafy green vegetables as sources of iron; however, plant-derived iron is not absorbed as completely.

You can also take an iron supplement. Iron supplements commonly cause constipation, so slow-release supplements are preferred. Taking iron with vitamin C, as is found in citrus fruits or some combination supplements, increases the stomach’s absorption of iron.

— Dermatologists Melissa Piliang, MD, and Alok Vij, MD

Connections between Iron Deficiency and Hair Loss


Iron deficiencies cause a variety of symptoms in men, women, and children. But one of the lesser-known side effects of low iron is hair loss.

Here are some details about how iron deficiencies can cause hair loss and how a condition called telogen effluvium can be triggered by low iron levels as well.

How Iron Deficiencies Cause Hair Loss

When the body doesn’t have enough iron to produce hemoglobin, a deficiency results and oxygen cannot be transferred to the bodily cells for growth and repair.

Hair follicles are made up of cells that require hemoglobin as well, which means that low iron levels often result in hair falling out and slow hair growth.

Since hair loss is less common among women, one common reason that women start losing more hair is due to low iron. In cases of iron deficiency, hair loss is often one of several symptoms and accompanied by fatigue, pale skin, brittle nails, or a cold body temperature. Women in particular are more susceptible to low iron because of their menstrual periods. Women who eat a poor-quality diet, frequently donate blood, or who take certain medications may be at an even higher risk for iron deficiency-related hair loss.

What is Telogen Effluvium?

The average person loses about 100 hairs per day. But in healthy individuals, a majority of the hairs on one’s head are still growing. Telogen effluvium is a condition in which more hairs enter a resting period known as the telogen phase. This means that existing hairs stop growing before they fall out. Someone who has telogen effluvium may lose more like 300 hairs per day instead of 100.

This condition is often caused by an iron deficiency, but that is not the only cause. For example, a major trauma, psychological stress, surgery, and some medications can cause this condition as well. People who have telogen effluvium often notice more hairs coming out in their brushes and combs and a reduced density of hairs on the head. Although these results tend to be subtle, they can be emotionally scarring and cause devastating losses of confidence and self-esteem.

Prevention Strategies for Women

Hair loss is most often associated with men, but women also frequently lose their hair at various stages of life. Iron supplements like Fergon can help women prevent iron deficiency-related hair loss before it becomes a major issue in daily life.

This high-potency supplement can be easily digested and replenishes the iron in the blood cells quickly. Iron-rich foods like liver and beef can help replenish iron supplies in the body too. Healthy non-meat sources of iron include lentils, tofu, chickpeas, and raisins. Since vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, it is also important to eat citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens to get an adequate supply of this vitamin.

However, it should be noted that there are many other serious medical conditions that can cause hair loss in women and men. Always seek an accurate diagnosis from a trusted doctor before taking any supplement to treat a perceived condition.

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Always keep high-potency Fergon on hand to supplement your iron needs. view product info ❯

Can an iron deficiency cause hair loss ?

Why is my body not absorbing iron ?

Iron is an essential mineral. Our bodies need iron to thrive and they get it from various foods and supplements. Sometimes, even if you consume enough iron, your body can still lack it due to malabsorption. This can happen because of an illness, for example, if you have problems with your thyroid or your bowel. Also, women experiencing heavy periods tend to have low iron stores.

For instance, when a person has a stomach ulcer, retention of iron will be low, which, in its turn, causes iron deficiency anaemia. Infection and some types of medications can also prevent the body from absorbing iron as much as it should.

What happens when you lack iron ?

If an iron shortage occurs, there will be a corresponding decrease in the production of haemoglobin. As a consequence, the organism will starve of oxygen too, since haemoglobin is responsible for transporting it around the body. That is the reason why you might feel so listless and be short of breath when the iron stores in the body are low.

Iron deficiency hair loss occurs quite often, as the growth of new hair cells in the follicles is directly affected by the shortage of iron in the body. Our hair follicles contain ferritin, a protein that stores and transports iron and helps to build new hair cells. When you do not consume enough iron, your body starts taking ferritin from non-essential tissues like hair and nails and transporting it to the most important organs.

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What are the 3 stages of iron deficiency ?

Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition that develops gradually and occurs in stages. The three stages of an iron deficiency are :

Pre-latent stage:

This is the initial period. At this point, the level of iron stored in some body tissues such as the liver, and muscles begins to reduce. Iron deficiency anaemia does not set in at the pre-latent stage because the body still gets iron from haemoglobin released from recycled red blood cells.

Latent stage:

At this stage, the iron bank is almost empty. However, the level of haemoglobin is still sufficient for the body to properly carry out anabolism and catabolism.

Precarious stage:

iron deficiency anaemia. At this stage, there is little or no iron in the body. The essential body tissues and organs are deprived of iron and this affects a person’s overall functionality and wellbeing. Patients with anaemia usually feel physically weak and they get easily tired. Diagnosis of this condition can be established through a comprehensive blood test.

How can I counteract an iron deficiency ?

The best way to counteract an iron deficiency is to eat iron-rich foods or through iron supplements. This will help ensure that the body can maintain a proper balance between the iron intake and how the body absorbs and uses it. You should also pay attention to your vitamin consumption, especially vitamin C and B12, as it also improves the retention and absorption of iron. Foods that have a high iron content include lean red meat, brown rice, eggs, dried fruit, green vegetables, beans, nuts and fish.

Iron deficiency and hair loss

Hair loss is one of the most common symptoms of an iron deficiency. If the condition is not properly treated, it can result in long-term baldness.

It is very normal to lose hair when washing, combing or brushing it. However, if you notice that you have been losing more hair recently or if your hair has become more brittle, you should check your iron level and do a complete blood count test.

Will my hair grow back after an iron deficiency ?

The good news is – if your hair loss is caused by an iron deficiency, it can be reversed in most cases with appropriate medical treatment.

It is not a permanent condition albeit an early detection of the condition is crucial. Taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods are important steps to take, although the ultimate decision lies must come from your doctor or a trained medical adviser. That said, here are some essential measures to follow to regrow your hair.

Medications and supplements:

some hair-care products can help you regain your lost hair. One of such is Rogaine, which contains minoxidil. This product is usually applied like shampoo and rubbed into the scalp. There should be noticeable changes within the four months after the beginning of Rogaine treatment. Minoxidil-containing hair products usually bring positive results to both men and women.

Other alternatives against iron deficiencies:

there are some pills that reduce the rate of hair loss and stimulate hair growth. However, it is important not to take these medications without clear instructions from the doctor. In case of an iron deficiency, besides taking iron supplements, it is also critical to ensure appropriate consumption of vitamin C and those of group B. They stimulate the absorption and transportation of iron around the body.


this is the best long-term solution. It becomes a viable option when hair loss has developed into a permanent condition. Modern hair surgery techniques like the FUE hair transplant allows the extraction of single hairs follicules, which makes the procedure much safer and less invasive.

Here are a few other easy ways to prevent hair loss, that everyone should follow:

  • Shield the hair from the sun and wind exposure.
  • Brush and wash your hair frequently. Dirt, fat and shampoo residues can clog the skin and hair follicles, thus preventing the growth of new hair.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles, it is better to wear your hair down or in a loose ponytail.

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Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If you have anemia, your body does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. This can cause you to feel tired or weak. You may also have shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, or an irregular heartbeat.

There are many types and causes of anemia. Mild anemia is a common and treatable condition that can occur in anyone. Some people are at a higher risk for anemia, including women during their menstrual periods and pregnancy and people who donate blood frequently, do not get enough iron or certain vitamins, or take certain medicines or treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer.

Anemia may also be a sign of a more serious condition. It may result from chronic bleeding in the stomach. Chronic inflammation from an infection, kidney disease, cancer, or autoimmune diseases can also cause the body to make fewer red blood cells.

Your doctor will consider your medical history and physical exam and test results when diagnosing and treating anemia. He or she will use a simple blood test to confirm that you have low amounts of red blood cells or hemoglobin. For some types of mild to moderate anemia, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription iron supplements, certain vitamins, intravenous iron therapy, or medicines that make your body produce more red blood cells. To prevent anemia in the future, your doctor may also suggest healthy eating changes. If you have severe anemia, your doctor may recommend red blood cell transfusions.

Visit Anemia for more information about this topic.

Could eating more iron stop you feeling tired?

Can boosting your iron help if you’re not anaemic?

Experts believe that increasing your iron intake may give you more energy if your iron stores are low, even if your haemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen) levels are above the cut-off for anaemia. Non-anaemic iron deficiency is estimated to affect about three times as many people as iron-deficiency anaemia. The British Medical Journal and NHS agree that it may be an under-recognised cause of fatigue, particularly among women of child-bearing age.

To put this problem into context, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 5% of 15–18 year old girls have iron-deficiency anaemia, but nearly 24% have low iron stores. Among 35–49 year old women, 4.8% have iron-deficiency anaemia, but nearly 12.5% have low iron stores. Anaemia and low iron stores are rare among boys and men under the age of 64, but are significant risks for those over the age of 65.

Does that mean you should take iron supplements if you feel tired? Not necessarily – it is important to see your doctor and ask for a diagnosis as it is possible to overdose on iron.

$2,733 To Treat Iron-Poor Blood? Iron Infusions For Anemia Under Scrutiny

Plump red blood cells — tumbling amid infection-fighting white blood cells and purple platelets in this colorized, microscopic view — need adequate levels of iron to be able to carry and deliver oxygen around the body. Iron-deficiency anemia is sometimes remedied with IV iron infusions — and the bill can vary by thousands of dollars. Science Source hide caption

toggle caption Science Source

Plump red blood cells — tumbling amid infection-fighting white blood cells and purple platelets in this colorized, microscopic view — need adequate levels of iron to be able to carry and deliver oxygen around the body. Iron-deficiency anemia is sometimes remedied with IV iron infusions — and the bill can vary by thousands of dollars.

Science Source

Shannon Wood Rothenberg walked into her annual physical feeling fine. But more than a year later, she’s still paying the price.

Routine bloodwork from that spring 2018 medical visit suggested iron-deficiency anemia. The condition runs in Rothenberg’s family and is often treated with over-the-counter iron pills, which typically cost under $10 for a month’s supply. Her doctor advised exactly that.

But after two months with no change, the doctor told Rothenberg to see a hematologist who could delve into the source of her problem and infuse an iron solution directly into her veins.

So, the 48-year-old public school teacher went twice in July 2018 to a cancer center, operated by Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, to get infusions of Injectafer, an iron solution.

When the bill arrived in March, after prolonged negotiations between the hospital and her insurer, Rothenberg and her husband were floored.

The hospital initially had billed more than $14,000 per vial of Injectafer. Since her treatment was in network, Rothenberg’s insurance plan negotiated a much cheaper rate: about $1,600 per vial. She received two vials. Insurance paid a portion, but Rothenberg still owed the hospital $2,733, based on what was still unpaid in her family’s $9,000 deductible.

Anemia, the principal outgrowth of low iron levels, can cause headache, fatigue and an irregular heartbeat. People with certain medical conditions, including a history of heavy menstrual periods, inflammatory bowel disease and kidney failure, among others, are prone to low iron levels and anemia, which can be severe.

Crunching the national data

Although Rothenberg had private health insurance, a close look at Medicare data suggests her experience with pricey iron infusions is pretty common. Since 2013, the first year for which data are available, about 9 million Americans in the federal government’s health plan for people 65 and above have gotten iron infusions each year. That’s almost one infusion for every five Medicare recipients.

In other countries, doctors usually would not be so quick to resort to iron infusions for anemia — especially in healthy patients like Rothenberg, who have no underlying disease and no obvious symptoms.

In Great Britain, for example, “it would be extremely unlikely that IV iron would be administered,” says Richard Pollock, a health economist at London-based Covalence Research, who studies the use of iron products.

But one key difference between the United States and other countries is that American physicians and hospitals can profit handsomely from infusions. Under Medicare, a doctor’s payment is partly based on the average sales price of the prescribed drug. Critics say that gives health practitioners an incentive to pick the newer, more expensive option.

For patients who have private insurance, hospitals and doctors can mark up prices even more. Intravenous infusions, generally administered in a hospital or clinic, also generate a “facility fee.”

That creates a financial incentive to favor the most expensive infused treatments, rather than pills or simple skin injections that patients can use readily at home.

Indeed, a Kaiser Health News analysis of Medicare claims found that Injectafer and Feraheme — the two newest (and priciest) infusions on the American market — made up more than half of IV iron infusions in 2017, up from less than a third in 2014. Cheaper, older formulations — which can go for as little as a tenth the cost — have seen their share of Medicare claims fall dramatically.

Situations like these, which drive up Medicare spending, are why the Trump administration has suggested changing how Medicare pays for intravenous drugs. The administration would tie Medicare reimbursements for some IV drugs to the price paid in countries that set drug prices at a national level — prices that are partly based on an estimate of each drug’s comparative value. This plan has generated sharp backlash from conservative lawmakers and the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Physicians argue that they simply prescribe the most effective medication for patients, regardless of what the payment system would suggest.

But the government’s own Medicare claims data, research and stories like Rothenberg’s paint a different picture.

“When there’s a financial incentive … that might move the physician away from the choice the patient would optimally make, we might be concerned,” says Aditi Sen, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who is researching how doctors prescribe and are paid for intravenous iron treatments.

The example of iron infusions, she adds, suggests “a clear financial incentive to prescribe more expensive drugs.”

Iron-poor “tired blood” and the marketing of iron supplements

Treatments for iron deficiency are nearly 100 years old. Geritol, a decades-old dietary iron supplement for iron-poor “tired blood,” was among the first medicines widely advertised on TV in the 1950s and ’60s.

The first federally approved iron infusion didn’t hit the U.S. market until 2000, but the treatments have since surged in popularity. For one thing, infusions carry fewer side effects than do pills, which can cause constipation or nausea. And scientific advances have mitigated the risks of intravenous iron, although getting infusions still comes with inconvenience, some discomfort, the risk of infection at the IV site and, rarely, serious allergic reactions.

Five branded products now dominate the American market for IV iron, and three have generic counterparts. They have different chemical formulations but, by and large, are considered mostly medically interchangeable.

“There’s not a huge amount of difference in the efficacy of iron formulations,” Pollock says. So, for value, “the question really does come down to cost.”

Doctors are supposed to recommend infusions only if patients don’t respond to iron pills or dietary changes, Pollock says. Instead of steering patients toward “unnecessarily costly” infusions, physicians should determine the underlying cause of low iron and treat that directly.

Injectafer, which Rothenberg received, is one of the most expensive infusions, retailing for more than $1,000 a vial. And, as Rothenberg learned the hard way, hospitals can charge privately insured patients whatever they choose. Insurers then negotiate that hospital “list price” down.

An analysis of private insurance claims conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute, an independent research group funded by insurers, found that in 2017, private health plans paid $4,316 per visit, on average, if a patient received Injectafer infusions. Feraheme, the next most expensive infusion drug, cost private plans $3,087 per visit, while the other three on the market were considerably cheaper. Infed was $1,502, Venofer $825 and Ferrlecit $412, the institute found, in an analysis for Kaiser Health News.

The share of newer, pricier infusions has crept up in the private market too. In 2017, 23% of privately billed iron infusion visits involved Injectafer or Feraheme, compared with 13% in 2015, according to the institute’s data.

Nobody told Rothenberg that cheaper options might exist or warned her about her treatment’s price, she says. The hematologist who treated her did not respond directly to our repeated requests for comment.

But Alan Miller, the chief medical director of oncology for SCL Health (Saint Joseph’s umbrella organization), says the hospital stopped using Injectafer in August 2018 — a month after Rothenberg’s visit — because of the relatively high cost to patients. The hospital now turns to Venofer and Feraheme instead.

There are some other, nonmedical reasons doctors might choose the more expensive drug. Newer, more expensive drugs are more likely to be heavily marketed directly to doctors, says Stacie Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University.

Walid Gellad, an associate health policy professor at the University of Pittsburgh, says some formulations may be more convenient in terms of how many doses they require or how long patients have to sit for an infusion. Or a certain patient might have a distinctive profile that makes one drug an obviously better fit.

None of those explanations sit particularly well with Rothenberg, whose iron levels are now fine — but who is still paying off her $2,700 bill in installments over two years.

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit, editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation and is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

March 28, 2014— — intro: Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, and women are among those at greatest risk.

Iron is critical for producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. So without it, everything suffers — and can lead to anemia.

Check out these symptoms of iron deficiency and, if you have them, see your doc and request a ferritin test, which measures your body’s iron stores.

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quicklist: 1 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You’re exhausted url: text: The most common symptom of iron deficiency, it’s also possibly the most difficult one to detect.

“Women are so used to having frenetic lives and feeling tired,” says Nancy Berliner, MD, deputy editor of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. “They often just dismiss being tired as part of life.”

However, iron deficiency causes less oxygen to reach your tissues, so your body is deprived of the energy it needs. If your “normal” fatigue is coupled with you feeling, weak, irritable, or unable to focus, iron (or a lack thereof) might have something to do with it. After all, there’s a reason people whose iron deficiency progresses into anemia are often said to have “tired blood.”

quicklist: 2 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You have heavy periods url: text: In women, the number-one cause of iron deficiency is too-heavy periods, says Jacques Moritz, MD, director of gynecology at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt in New York City.

“They lose too much blood, replace about half of it, and then lose too much again the following month,” he says. “It’s like filling up a car with a small hold in the tank.”

Your period should only fill two to three tablespoons each month. Try the tampon test: If you have to change your tampon more frequently than every two hours, talk to your gyno.

quicklist: 3 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You’re pale url: text: There’s a reason the words “pale” and “sickly” are often used interchangeably. Hemoglobin gives your blood its red color and, thus, your skin its rosy hue. That means that low levels of the protein can suck the color straight from your skin, Dr. Moritz says.

If you have a light complexion, it’s pretty easy to spot. No matter your skin tone, though, if the inside of your lips, your gums, and the inside of your bottom eyelids are less red than usual, low iron may be to blame.

quicklist: 4 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You get short of breath easily url: text: No matter how deeply you breathe, if your oxygen levels are low, you’ll feel out of air, explains Dr. Berliner.

If you notice yourself getting out of breath doing things that you’d normally handle just fine — be it climbing a flight or stairs or knocking out your usual workout — iron deficiency could be to blame.

quicklist: 5 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: Your heart is pounding url: text: An overworked heart can end up suffering from irregular heartbeats, heart murmurs, enlargement, and even heart failure.

Before you freak out, don’t. For things to get that bad, you would probably have to suffer from iron deficiency anemia for quite some time, suggests a review of cardiomyopathy and iron deficiency in the Texas Heart Institute Journal. However, if you know you have heart problems, it’s important to get your iron levels checked as iron deficiency can worsen existing heart problems.

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quicklist: 6 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You have restless leg syndrome url: text: Can’t stop fidgeting? About 15% of people with restless leg syndrome have iron deficiency, according to John Hopkins Medicine. The lower the iron levels, the worse the symptoms.

quicklist: 7 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: Your head hurts url: text: An iron-deficient body will prioritize getting oxygen to your brain before it worries about other tissues, but even then, your noggin will still get less than it ideally should, Dr. Berliner says. In response, the brain’s arteries can swell, causing headaches, according to the National Headache Foundation.

quicklist: 8 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You crave clay, dirt, and ice url: text: Called pica, craving (and actually eating) non-food substances can be a sign of of iron deficiency. Iron-deficient people may be tempted to chow down on chalk, clay, dirt, and paper. Luckily, most women opt for ice, says Dr. Berliner, who tells her anemic patients to come back to see her if they start craving ice.

quicklist: 9 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You feel anxious for no reason url: text: As if your life wasn’t stressful enough, iron deficiency can trick you into feeling even more anxious. A lack of oxygen revs up your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is kind of like your body’s gas pedal, Dr. Berliner says. Plus, since iron deficiency can send your heart racing, it’s easy to feel like you’re in fight-or-flight mode even when you have every reason to feel relaxed.

quicklist: 10 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You’re losing your hair url: text: Iron deficiency, especially when it progresses into full-blown iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss.

“It sends your body into survival mode, so your body channels oxygen to support vital functions as opposed to ones like keeping your hair intact,” explains Dr. Moritz.

Don’t panic if there are a few hairs in your drain, though. Most scalps lose about 100 hairs on a good day.

quicklist: 11 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You’re vegetarian or vegan url: text: All iron is not created equal. Your body absorbs heme iron — which comes from meat, poultry, and fish — two to three times more efficiently than non-heme iron from plants, says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet.

You can still get enough iron with careful meal planning. Dark leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes are all rich in iron; pair them with vitamin-C-rich foods like bell peppers, berries, and broccoli to boost your absorption.

quicklist: 12 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You have an underactive thyroid url: text: Iron deficiency slows your body’s thyroid function and blocks its metabolism-boosting effects, according to the National Academy of Hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism if often missed — six in 10 people with a thyroid disease don’t know they have it, according to the American Thyroid Association — so if you notice low energy levels, weight gain, or even a lower body temperature, talk to your doc.

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quicklist: 13 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You’re pregnant url: text: Folic acid deservedly gets a lot of pre-natal press, but babies-to-be also need iron, and they can steal mom’s stores. What’s more, many women lose a substantial amount of blood during delivery, which can lower iron counts, Dr. Moritz says.

If you’re pregnant with multiples, have pregnancies close together, or regularly vomit because of morning sickness, you may need to boost your iron intake.

quicklist: 14 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: Your tongue looks weird url: text: Besides sapping the color out of your tongue, low iron counts can reduce levels of myoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that supports muscle health, like the muscle that makes up the tongue, Dr. Berliner says. As a result, many people who are iron deficient complain of a sore, inflamed, and strangely smooth tongue.

quicklist: 15 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: You have celiac or an inflammatory bowel disease url: text: Even if you get enough iron in your diet, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can lead to problems absorbing nutrients, iron included. These conditions cause inflammation in and damage to the digestive tract.

If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these GI diseases, talk to you doctor about how you can increase your iron absorption.

quicklist: 15 category: Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency title: How to get more iron url: text: Iron requirements aren’t one-size-fits-all, especially for women. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 typically need 18 mg per day. However, if you’re pregnant, that amount bumps up to 27 mg. If you’re breastfeeding, you should get just 9 mg. Plus, how heavy your periods are could also alter your needs.

Older than 50 and not menstruating? You only need 8 mg per day. That’s not a hard target to hit — a single serving of lentils, spinach, beef, nuts, chicken, or chickpeas, will all score you at least a couple milligrams.

And when it comes to iron, more isn’t necessarily better.

“While most the attention is on iron deficiency, there is a concern as well for iron overload, which studies indicate can damage internal organs and may increase the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and cancer, particularly in older people,” Batayneh says.

Try to hit your RDA of iron, but don’t worry about going above and beyond the recommendations.

Are you anemic? Iron deficient? Many women are — in fact, roughly 20 percent of women (in childbearing age) have iron deficiency anemia, and that’s not including women who are generally just low in iron. If you’ve experienced weight gain because of it, it’s time to get serious about your iron supplementation — some research is showing it could help balance out your weight and jump-start your metabolism.

An Italian 2014 study looked at 21 anemic women over the course of four to six months while they took iron supplements orally to treat anemia. At the end of the trial, it was reported that their waists shrank, their weight dropped, and their BMI was “significantly reduced.” Pretty amazing results, right?

The report mentioned that the study was indeed small, and that there would need to be more studies to give a concrete recommendation, but the initial findings suggested that “treatment of iron deficiency may improve not only haematological but also metabolic and anthropometric parameters.” Big words, even bigger significance. You’ll be helping balance your blood while you boost your energy and your metabolism, all while changing the shape your body (ideally, if all goes to plan and you continue eating healthily).


Talk to your doctor and see how much iron is safe for you to take to treat your anemia. You may be pleasantly surprised with the change in your weight!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim

The Direct Correlation Between Iron Deficiency Anemia and Weight Gain

Caitlin MichelidesFollow May 16, 2019 · 4 min read

Do you have complains about low energy and suffer from the feeling of being tired and exhausted? Is this despite the fact that you eat nutritious, well-rounded diet? If yes, it might be due to iron deficiency anemia. It can be the worst feeling in the world to feel completely exhausted the moment you wake up in the morning to the second you hit the pillows. The sad part is that low iron can go undetected for months. Sometimes we write off the process as not sleeping well to go through stressful events but that is not right.

Sometimes weight gain can be attributed to the deficiencies in minerals, vitamins, and hormones which are connected to metabolic disorders that can have a great impact on the overall ability of your body to manage weight. If you find any increase in your weight, the best thing would be to visit your physician who will determine whether your body is experiencing any issues which needs to be addressed promptly.

The problem is that since you feel fatigued you eat sugar. You take it with the help of coffee which keeps you awake and energetic. The problem is when you feel the craving for eating something you do not want to eat broccoli which promotes fat loss. Rather you crave for strawberry shortcake which is a primary source of carbs stored in the body as fat. They might have the same amount of calories but the sugar content present in both of them is quite different.

When we feel hungry we do not crave for green leafy vegetables and clean proteins instead we look for quick fix known as a quick spike in blood sugar. We select the simplest carb that we can get due to the fact that sugars consist of glucose and glucose is energy for our cells. The insulin tries to manage our blood sugar levels but it can only do so much to manage our blood sugar levels.

This goes to show that there is a direct correlation between iron deficiency anemia and weight gain. To reiterate this point, let us look at the research published in the College of Nutrition which showcases the fact that there is a direct relationship between weight gain and deficiencies in minerals and vitamins. It was further found that overweight adults have vitamin deficiencies across the board. Out of this 20% of obese adults lacked in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and magnesium. Furthermore, it was found that they were less likely to meet the federal requirements for iron, calcium, and vitamin E. So, does that mean that vitamin deficiencies are causing us to become fat?

The most prevalent thing that we found was that most Americans have been suffering from leaky guts. If you have a leaky gut it becomes very intricate for your body to absorb vitamins and minerals from the food intake.

So, you would be eating a lot of healthy diets but still be deficient in many areas.

There can be various reasons due to which you can get anemia, including vitamin B12/folate deficiency, iron deficiency, excessive blood loss (due to gastrointestinal bleeding, heavy menses), medications, hereditary or specific chronic conditions, etc.

Let us now look at three major reasons that cause iron deficiency anemia:

  • Red blood cell destruction;
  • An ineffectiveness to produce an adequate number of healthy red blood cells;
  • Or blood loss.

Let us now look at the different things that you can do to make sure that your body is not iron deficient:

Get rid of those things from your diet that does not cause inflammation

It has commonly been found that food that causes inflammation results in leaky gut. The best way to overcome this situation is by getting rid of common inflammatory foods like wheat/gluten, corn, soy, and sugar. Always make sure to read the labels before eating any food. Never intake these five inflammatory foods in your diet. Certain signs of inflammation and symptoms include colon distress, stomach distress, headache, bloating, indigestion, nausea, decrease in energy or mood, and so on. If you see any negative changes in your body consider it to be a sign of inflammation. Once you get rid of these inflammatory foods from your diet, your gut will begin to heal. In case, you are suffering from a leaky gut, your body will commence to absorb more nutrients from your food.

Always intake high-quality multivitamin

It is very important to consume high-quality multivitamin on a daily basis. This way you can always ensure that you do not have any deficiency in terms of vegan iron supplements.

Honestly, check the diet that you are taking

If you find any of your meals lacking basic nutrients now is the time to understand what you are putting in your body. This is extremely vital as it will make you and your body healthy.

In the end, it has got to be said that iron deficiency anemia can be one of the major reasons for weight gain. Hence, it becomes very important for you to check the level of iron in your body and take iron supplements to ensure that you do not suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

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