Hidden signs of iron deficiency in the body Hidden signs of iron deficiency in the body

Hidden signs of iron deficiency in the body

Hidden signs of iron deficiency in the body
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Iron is an essential nutrient for transporting oxygen throughout the body, maintaining a healthy immune system as well as reducing the risk of heart and lung disease.

“Our cells, tissues and organs cannot function optimally without enough iron, because the body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells,” says Adam Enaz, a clinical nutritionist.

Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition that can be fatal if not treated.

So, how much iron do you need?

The recommended daily intake of iron depends on age, gender and a range of other factors, such as pregnancy.

The British National Health Service explained that men, aged 19 to 50 years, should consume 8.7 mg of iron daily, compared to 14.8 mg for women in the same age group.

“Women have a greater need for iron to compensate for iron loss during the menstrual cycle,” says Rob Hobson, a nutritionist and Healthspan advisor. “After the age of 50, the recommended daily intake for women drops to 8.7 mg per day, in line with the recommendation for men, as it is assumed that this reduction Menstruation usually occurs at this age.

Boys, between the ages of 11 and 18, should consume 11.3 mg of iron, compared to 14.8 for girls in the same age group.

Signs of iron deficiency

- Catching the infection 

Iron plays a role in the development and efficiency of the immune system, and its deficiency in the body increases the risk of infection in people with normal levels.

“Having enough iron in your diet helps ensure the proliferation and maturation of immune cells, such as lymphocytes, which are needed to help fight infections,” Hobson says. A study of more than 1,400 people found that iron deficiency was an independent predictor of respiratory infections such as the common cold. .

“When your body does not have iron, it cannot produce hemoglobin, which is critical for transporting oxygen to the body’s tissues,” Inaz says. “This iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and weakness.”

- Pale skin and under the eyes

Low hemoglobin levels can cause less oxygen to reach the skin and mucous membranes. This can cause a pale appearance, Inaz explains.

- shortness of breath

“Iron deficiency makes it difficult for your body to make blood cells that carry oxygen,” says Enaz. “This can lead to feeling short of breath, especially when engaging in activities. Severe iron deficiency can sometimes lead to complications, such as angina or pain.” In the chest where the heart may need to work hard to circulate oxygenated blood.

- Brittle nails

Iron deficiency can affect the condition of your nails, making them brittle. “This is also known as coelonica,” Inaz says.

- Strong desire to eat non-food items

Also known as pica, this condition causes cravings for things like clay and ice, which may indicate an iron deficiency, according to Inaz.

- Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

“Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which the urge to move the legs is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations,” explains Inaz.

When you have an iron deficiency, levels of the brain chemical dopamine can decrease, which may cause symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

“Dopamine is made from the amino acid l-tyrosine, which is found in many meats as well as egg whites,” Inaz adds. “Food options like beef and omelettes can support iron and dopamine levels.”

- Heart palpitations

“Inadequate iron levels can reduce the blood's ability to carry oxygen, resulting in the heart needing to work harder to distribute oxygen throughout the body,” Inaz says.

- Brain fog

Iron is essential for healthy brain function, and low iron is associated with brain fog and poor cognition, according to Hobson.

Iron is also involved in the production of myelin, which is the protective covering around nerve cells, which is extremely important for the nervous system to function properly and affects the speed and efficiency of communication between nerve cells.

Hobson adds that iron is necessary to make thyroid hormones, which include thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are necessary for regulating metabolism, growth, and converting food into energy.

Iron deficiency can lead to decreased production of these hormones, leading to symptoms that reflect hypothyroidism.

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