Do I have an iron deficiency? How to recognize if you have an iron deficiency

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Iron deficiency - a common problem and how you can tackle it

Dear reader,

Your body needs a balanced diet to function properly. Iron is an essential trace element that plays a crucial role in the oxygen supply to your cells. An iron deficiency can therefore lead to various health problems, which is why it is important to prevent or counteract this deficiency.

1. Do I have an iron deficiency?
How to tell if you have an iron deficiency: Iron deficiency is a common health problem, but its symptoms can often be subtle and confused with other conditions. To find out if you might have an iron deficiency, it's helpful to pay attention to certain signs and signals from your body. Here are some clues:

  • Persistent fatigue: If you're constantly tired and exhausted despite getting enough sleep and rest, an iron deficiency could be behind it.
  • Paleness: Pay attention to the color of your skin and mucous membranes. A pale complexion, especially in combination with pale nails and gums, could indicate an iron deficiency.
  • Shortness of breath: If you get out of breath faster than usual during physical exertion, this could indicate a reduced oxygen supply to your muscles due to iron deficiency.
  • Hair loss: Excessive hair loss can also be an indication. Iron deficiency can lead to brittle hair and increased hair loss.
  • Weak nails: Brittle nails that break easily can indicate a lack of iron.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Difficulty concentrating and mental fatigue can indicate a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain.

If you experience several of these symptoms and are concerned about a possible iron deficiency, it is advisable to consult a doctor. A blood test can accurately determine the iron status in your body and, if necessary, measures can be taken to compensate for the deficiency.

Causes of iron deficiency
Iron deficiency can have various causes. It is often due to an unbalanced diet that contains too few iron-rich foods. People with special dietary preferences such as vegetarians and vegans in particular should make sure they include enough iron-rich plant sources in their meals.

In addition, certain diseases, such as chronic intestinal diseases, can impair the absorption of iron in the intestine.

Menstrual blood loss in women, especially in connection with heavy or prolonged periods, can also lead to an increased need for iron.

Regular blood donations or insufficient absorption of iron from food are other possible factors.

It is therefore important to identify the individual causes of iron deficiency in order to take targeted action against it.

What measures can I take against my iron deficiency?
There are various measures you can take to combat iron deficiency. Here are some steps that can help you treat and prevent your iron deficiency:

1. Optimize your diet:
Increase the intake of iron-rich foods in your diet. These include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens and meat (if you eat meat).

Combine iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C to improve iron absorption. For example, this could be a meal with spinach and orange juice.

Make sure to consume iron-suppressing foods such as tea and coffee in appropriate amounts and not to drink them immediately before or after iron-rich meals.

. Iron supplements:
In some cases, it may be necessary to take iron supplements. Here are a few important points to bear in mind:
The optimal intake of iron supplements is important to ensure that the body absorbs the iron efficiently. Here are some tips on the right combination of iron supplements to maximize their effectiveness:

  • Always take with vitamin C: Iron supplements are best taken on an empty stomach. If you take supplements or foods that contain iron, the absorption of iron will be improved if you take them together with a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes the absorption of iron in the intestine.
  • Avoid milk and dairy products: Calcium in dairy products can inhibit the absorption of iron. Avoid taking iron supplements with milk, cheese or yogurt.
  • Avoid coffee and tea: Tannins in coffee and tea can also inhibit iron absorption. It is advisable to drink coffee and tea at least one hour before or after taking iron supplements.
  • Avoid fiber and whole grain products: Fiber and phytates in whole grain products can interfere with iron absorption. It is a good idea not to take iron supplements with high-fiber meals or whole grain products.
  • Take on an empty stomach if possible: If you can tolerate it, take iron supplements on an empty stomach with water. This allows better absorption in the intestine.
  • Avoid taking calcium and magnesium supplements at the same time: If you take calcium or magnesium supplements at the same time, this can impair the absorption of iron. Ideally, these supplements should be taken at different times of the day.
  • Pay attention to the dosage: The recommended dosage of iron supplements should be followed carefully. Overdosing can lead to side effects, while underdosing does not help sufficiently against the deficiency.

It is important to note that the optimal intake of iron supplements can vary from person to person. That's why you should prefer tailor-made supplements.

Combine iron with vitamin B12?
Taking vitamin B12 can be useful, especially if you suffer from iron deficiency. Here's why vitamin B12 might be relevant:

B12for blood formation: Vitamin B12 plays an important role in blood formation, similar to iron. It is necessary to produce healthy red blood cells. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, which can result in symptoms similar to iron deficiency anemia, such as fatigue and weakness.

Interaction between B12 and iron: A deficiency of vitamin B12 can impair the efficiency of iron absorption in the body. Therefore, taking iron and vitamin B12 at the same time can be beneficial in some cases.

3. Treatment of causes:
If your iron deficiency is due to an underlying condition, such as chronic bowel disease, it is crucial to treat this underlying condition. Consult a specialist for this.

Iron deficiency is a common problem, but with the right diet and supplementation if necessary, you can get it under control. Make sure you eat a balanced diet and avoid iron-inhibiting foods. This will ensure that your body is optimally supplied with this important trace element without violating legal regulations.

With this in mind, we wish you every success on your journey to a better iron supply.

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