Tired? Could Iron Deficiency be the Reason?

Tired? Could Iron Deficiency be the Reason?

Iron deficiency can be a leading cause of fatigue in many people, particularly menstruating or pregnant women, young children, the elderly, vegetarians or people with gastro intestinal issues such as coeliac
disease. The reasons for deficiency generally result from inadequate dietary intake, inadequate absorption, or blood loss from menstruation or potential internal bleeds.

Not all irons are the same. The best absorbed form is from heme iron, which is that found in animal products such as red meat. Non-heme forms are found in vegetable sources, however uptake of this form of iron is not as good.

Supplemental forms of iron range considerably in dose from 3mg to 105mg per tablet. An average daily dose of iron for a menstruating woman is approximately 15-18mg per day. Higher dose supplements are
not always best, as they can cause constipation and cramping and flood the system to such an extent that the body will reduce absorption to prevent toxicity. This in turn reduces the uptake of not only iron, but other minerals which compete for the same receptor sites such as zinc.

It is important to get a blood test before supplementing with iron, first of all to know if you need it and if so, how much to take. Blood tests are also important to rule out a common genetic condition called haemochromatosis, where the body stores too much iron.

If you need iron, talk to our naturopaths about the type and dosemost suited to your needs.

Written by Sarah Durack
Published 20/03/2010

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