Wouldn’t we all like a little (or a lot) of superhero power now and then to help us scale life’s various mountains? If you’re nodding “yes” right about now, think iron. Iron is a mineral critical to the circulatory system and life-sustaining functions. It is a component of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through the blood and is essential to powering the energy levels required for all physiological processes in the body.
When is the last time you’ve checked your iron levels?
Coming in for an iron check up is always a good idea, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian. Most people acquire sufficient iron from their diet. However, a supplement may be needed by those who have strenuous physical regimens or who experience frequent blood loss i.e. from heavy periods or inflammatory bowel disease. Foods containing the highest sources of iron are liver, organ meats, red meat, dark turkey meat and shellfish. Legumes, certain seeds, and dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, do provide iron but you’d have to eat quite a bit, nearly every day, to obtain sufficient amounts.
You may be anemic and require an iron supplement, if you are experiencing:
- Extreme fatigue
- Cold hands and feet
- Rapid heart rate
- Unusual non-food cravings like ice
Also considering testing your thyroid for abnormalities. It’s important to have your iron levels tested before starting a supplement because iron can build up in the body (a condition called hemochromatosis). This can lead to life-threatening health problems involving the liver, heart or pancreas. This is why doctors always recommend you get a multivitamin without iron unless you really need it. A simple nutrient analysis done by blood test indicates if you are deficient; other tests can determine if you have difficulty absorbing iron provided by a healthy diet.
There are many ways to increase iron levels so consult with us to recommend the right method for you.
- HarvardHealth.edu “Iron and your Health.” Posted May 2015; Accessed 17 June 2018.
- Healthline.com “11 Healthy Foods that are very high in Iron.” Accessed 17 June 2018.
- MayoClinic.com “Iron Deficiency, Anemia.” Accessed 17 June 2018.
- MedicalNewsToday.com “Iron Overload Disorder: All you need to know.” Accessed 17 June 2018.