November 13, 2017
446 Iron Deficiency [13 Nov 2017]
In September I wrote about iron toxicity [#439], how too much iron can damage your mitochondria and increase your risk of sudden cardiac death. This week I want to balance that with a reminder that worldwide, iron deficiency is a major problem. See my article #212 Iron – the Energy Mineral, April 2013.
The World Health Organization states that “Iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world. As well as affecting a large number of children and women in developing countries, it is the only nutrient deficiency which is also significantly prevalent in industrialized countries.”
People most affected by iron deficiency are growing children, pregnant women, and pre-menopausal women. Pregnancy especially requires iron as the mother’s blood volume increases nearly 50%. By the way, this extra blood volume also requires a lot of sodium, so this is not the time to restrict salt consumption. Children with ADD are commonly deficient in iron [see #443] as well as many other minerals and vitamins [see #172].
Besides being an essential component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying molecule found in red blood cells, iron is also essential in DNA synthesis and as a co-factor in a number of enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation.
Some symptoms of iron deficiency:
• General fatigue and weakness
• Shortness of breath
• Tachycardia (pounding heart)
• Chronic headaches
• Pale skin
• Hair loss
• Heavy menstrual cycles
These are indications that you might have an iron deficiency. But remember the danger of excess iron – it is important to be tested to make sure there is an iron deficiency before supplementing. There are a variety of iron supplements available. Iron salts such as fumarate, sulfate and gluconate are poorly absorbed and may contribute to constipation. Iron bisglycinate is a better absorbed form. Heme iron, already in the form used in red blood cells, is the best absorbed. Herbal iron tonics are also very well absorbed and contain other useful nutrients.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.