Have you been feeling chronically exhausted lately? Do you have headaches, cold hands and feet, and feel dizzy? Has your appetite decreased? Are you baffled by these problems, but don’t know what to do about them? Perhaps your iron levels are low.
Iron deficiency is the number one cause of anemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin. But low iron levels can cause a slew of issues including those previously mentioned as well as irritability, shortness of breath, rapid or irregular heartbeat, weakness, trouble concentrating, and brittle nails.
Iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Research shows approximately 80 percent people worldwide don’t have enough iron in their bodies, with 30 percent of those people actually dealing with anemia from prolonged iron deficiency. In the United States, typically women more than men are the ones dealing with low iron levels, especially pregnant women.
Iron deficiency is caused by either an increased need for iron by the body or a decreased ability of the body to absorb it. Iron carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. Low iron levels means less oxygen in the blood and body tissues, which ultimately robs you of energy. That’s why people with low iron levels feel run down or exhausted. Couple that with some of the other symptoms already mentioned, and there’s a good sign you may be at risk for having low iron levels.
Common Conditions That Cause Low Iron Levels
1. Regular Blood Loss. Menstruation, dialysis, or a gastrointestinal disorder associated with bleeding are all conditions that cause one to be at greater risk for iron deficiency.
2. Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the demand for iron is higher since your body has a demand to make more blood for you and your baby.
3. Women Who Exercise. The cause is uncertain, but women who regularly exercise are more at risk for iron deficiency than their sedentary counterparts. Marathon runners and endurance athletes are at an even higher risk of having low iron levels.
4. Gastrointestinal Damage. A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Medicine revealed that individuals with gastrointestinal issues, with or without bleeding, were more likely to experience iron deficiency through iron loss or defective absorption.
5. Vegetarian or Vegan. Red meat is one of the highest sources of iron, so vegans and vegetarians need to be sure they are eating a variety of iron-rich foods and iron-fortified foods.
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What To Do
If you suspect an iron deficiency, the first step is to find out what your iron levels actually are. A simple blood test will reveal this. There are labs all over the country where you can get a test for as low as $99. This test (or a visit to your doctor who can order a test for you) can tell you what your levels are.
If it turns out that you are low, talk to your doctor and consider taking an iron supplement like Max Muscle’s IronELITE. Keep in mind, high iron levels can be dangerous, so be sure to check in with your physician before taking any supplements.
Food Sources of Iron
If you discover you have low iron levels or if you suspect it, here are some iron-rich whole foods to round out your nutrition:
- Lean beef, fish, and poultry, which contain highly-absorbable heme and non-heme iron.
- Vegetarian sources of iron: beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and leafy greens.
- Iron-fortified foods. Fortified foods don’t naturally contain the vitamins or minerals, so they have been added as a dietary supplement. Breakfast cereals, breads and grains are often fortified with iron.
- Vitamin C. This assists with your body’s absorption of iron, taken as a supplement or by adding Vitamin-C rich foods to your diet, such as greens and citrus fruits.
Did you know that most iron supplements use cheap iron that causes stomach and intestinal irritation? In fact, stomach pain and irritation is the number one reason people don’t like taking iron supplements. However, clinical studies involving the key ingredient found in Max Muscle’s IronELITE™ – Iron Protein Succylinate (IPS) – have shown an absence of gastric side effects, including stomach irritation or intestinal discomfort, in nearly all 3,000 test subjects.
For individuals with gastric issues, this is great news! IronELITE provides optimal delivery with nearly complete absorption for the most efficient iron supplementation.
Find IronELITE at your local Max Muscle store or online.
By Alissa Carpio