Iron: What You Need To Know

Iron is an essential mineral. (Essential meaning we need it!) Iron helps transport our oxygen throughout our bodies.
Iron makes up part of our hemoglobin, the red coloured substance found in our red blood cells , which transports oxygen throughout our bodies. Without enough iron, our bodies struggle to make enough healthy red blood cells to carry our oxygen.

When we don’t get enough oxygen carried throughout our bodies, we feel tired, the number one symptom of low iron or iron deficiency. This fatigue and exhaustion can affect everything from our brain functioning, to our immune health. Not to mention the detrimental effects low iron can have on your unborn baby if you are pregnant with low iron.

If you feel exhausted all the time, struggling to keep up with your normal routine, and finding even simple activities like getting to the top of the staircase is causing you to be out of breath, you might be lacking in iron.

How Much Iron Do You Need?
How much iron we need depends on a few factors, including age and gender.

In stages of more dramatic growth, such as infancy, more iron is needed. During infancy and childhood, iron requirements for boys and girls are about on par with each other. But starting at adolescence, a woman’s daily iron needs increases more so. It is at this time when a girl starts to have her period, where they lose blood each month. Due to loss of blood, more iron is needed. Infact it becomes about 10mg of iron each day more for a female to a male after adolescence.

When menstruating ends, after menopause, a woman’s iron needs lowers, where both men and women need the same amount of iron.
Besides age and gender, here are some other reasons why you may need more iron:
You might need more iron, either from dietary sources or from an iron supplement, if you:

• Are Pregnant
• Have Kidney failure
• Have a gastrointestinal disorder such as Crohn’s disease
• Work out a lot
• Are vegan or vegetarian

Although we mentioned that being tired is one of the most common symptoms of low iron, most of us feel tired and usually put that down to being a mum, but unfortunately most people often don’t know or realise that they may actually they have anaemia or low iron.
If you’re low in iron, you may also experience the following:

• Shortness of breath
• Pale skin
• Have difficulty exercising
• Haven irregular heartbeat
• Have brittle nails

Diagnosis of iron deficiency is done with a simple blood test. Low iron can me managed quite easily with diet and supplements. But it is important to note that too much iron, can be problematic too!

Disclaimer: Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss. Consult with your health care processional before beginning any diet or exercise regime.

Tammy Kacev
Nutrition Expert

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