Iron Gives You An Energy
Iron is an essential mineral needed for the manufacture of haemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs. When iron levels are low, red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the body’s tissues, causing fatigue. When haemoglobin levels are low, anaemia occurs.
There are two types of iron: haem iron (from animal sources) and non-haem iron (from plant sources). The body absorbs haem iron much more easily than non-haem iron, which is why vegetarians are at greater risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.
Symptoms of deficiency: fatigue (especially on exertion); pale lower eyelids, palms, nails, tongue; brittle nails; headaches; constipation; inflamed tongue. This condition can leads to anemia. It is estimated that only 65-70% of all Americans meet their daily recommended intake.
Testing for deficiency: iron levels are tested easily with blood samples. Serum iron – tests iron levels in the blood. Ferritin levels – test how well iron is stored in the body, the best indicator of the body’s iron levels.
Caution: Excess iron absorption (called haemochromatosis) also causes chronic tiredness so it’s important to check your iron levels before using an iron supplement.
The high iron foods are: mollusks, liver, nuts, whole grains, beef and lamb meat, spinach, Swiss chard, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, beans and pulses. The National Institute of Health recommends the average male should consume about 8 milligrams of iron each day. Women, ages 19-50 need more than most people, up to 18 milligrams.