Iron is a metal, and while it might not sound like something you can eat, it’s actually a very important nutrient. But millions of people all over the world don’t get enough.
In fact, iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, according to the WHO, which estimates that some 2 billion people — or 30% of the world’s entire population — have anemia, which is caused by lack of iron.
And because of the blood loss from menstruation, women and teen girls are most susceptible. In fact, menstrual blood can be a major indicator of overall health, iron levels included.
Getting enough iron is crucial for healthy blood, good energy levels, and maintaining general health. Without it, the chances of internal bleeding are higher, energy and productivity drop, and infections can take hold more easily.
If you’re unsure whether you might have iron deficiency-caused anemia, see if any of the symptoms below seem familiar to you. If you have more than one, it might be time to talk to your doctor about boosting your iron levels.
So it’s very important to recognize if your body has an iron deficiency – the most frequent nutritional disorder in the world.
Low levels of iron in the body mean low levels of oxygen, and the oxygen deficiency can lead to swollen muscles including the tongue. You should increase the iron intake if you find your tongue swollen, sore or marred by tiny cracks.
Try to listen to your body and recognize the signs your body is sending to you. The iron is the much-needed nutrient, so consult the doctor if you have any suspects that your body needs more iron.
You can have symptoms very similar to depression if you have the iron deficiency, symptoms like fatigue, apathy, brain fog and irritability.
It is normal to lose around 100 strands of hair every day, but if you notice more drastic hair loss that could be a sign that your body has a lack of iron. When there is iron deficiency, the body is triggered into survival mode. That means that the oxygen will be distributed only to support the most vital functions and you can already guess that hair is not on the list.
Craving non-food substances
It’s really weird, but sometimes the iron deficiency can provoke cravings for non-food items such as dirt, paper, clay or chalk. This is a condition known as Pica and can be harmful if the anemic person gives into these cravings and start to ingest this kind of items.
If you don’t treat the iron deficiency it can provoke iron deficiency anemia. In order to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood when you’re anemic the heart will pump more blood, then the result is obvious, you might experience irregular and rapid heartbeat.
Everyday life can be very hectic and stressful, so this symptom can be pretty difficult to detect. If you feel weak, irritable and unable to focus and if it doesn’t seem to be just a usual fatigue, maybe your body has insufficiency of iron. The iron helps the oxygen to reach the tissues, so less iron means there will be less oxygen in the tissues and that leads to lack of energy.
Hemoglobin, made with iron, is what gives blood its red hue when oxygenated.But if you’re lacking in iron, you’ll be lacking in hemoglobin, too, and may appear paler than you normally would.While it’s more noticeable in lighter-skinned people, people of any skin tone should consult a doctor if their gums, insides of their lips, and lower eyelids start to look less red or pink than normal.
Brittle Or Concave Fingernails
Every single thing in your body needs oxygen to grow and thrive, and that includes your nails. If they suddenly seem like they’re breaking a lot, low iron levels may be the cause.Iron deficiency can also manifest with concave depressions in the nails.
An under-oxygenated brain is not going to feel good, and frequent headaches are a sign of that. They happen when the arteries in the brain swell. Which happens when oxygen levels aren’t high enough. Combined with feelings of fatigue, you’re not going to be your best if you don’t get enough iron.
Sensitivity To Cold
Your blood moving is what keeps you warm, specifically the oxygen it carries with it. Iron also plays a major role in thyroid function. Which helps regulate body temperature. Low iron levels mean you’ll feel cold, even if you’re not in a cold environment.
Restless Leg Syndrome
People with cellular iron deficiency are more likely to have the twitchy, nervous legs that keep them up at night. It has to do with the iron-absorbing receptors in brain cells malfunctioning instead releasing dopamine. Which causes your nerves to perk up and make your legs feel restless.
What Can You Do If You Think You Have An Iron Deficiency?
If you think you might not be getting enough iron, talk to your doctor. A simple blood test will determine your iron levels. Your doctor may advise an iron supplement, or offer some ideas about adjusting your diet to up your iron intake through food.
Prescriptions for safely upping the iron
Eat more iron-rich foods such as mushrooms, cumin, and chickpeas.
Cooking with cast iron pots and pans can increase the iron content in the food, especially foods with organic acids.
Increase the intake of vitamin C because it helps the absorption of iron. Try to drink a glass of orange or lemon juice with your lunch.