Iron deficiency can occur when the iron is lost to the body over a long period of time. This happens when iron-bound in the blood pigment hemoglobin is excreted faster than it can be replaced by a new intake.
Adequate intake of iron in food is very important. Inadequate utilization of iron should, therefore, be recognized at an early stage and compensated accordingly.
Why is iron essential for our body?
Iron performs important key functions in the human body: it not only ensures smooth oxygen transport from the lungs to the cells but also plays a crucial role in energy metabolism. Because iron is significantly involved in the formation of the cell energy source ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which supplies the body’s cells with energy. A sufficient supply of iron contributes significantly to your performance and health and is therefore of the utmost importance for the human organism.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency disease worldwide: around two billion people are affected. This high number is explained not least by the various causes that can be responsible for the lack of iron:
- Insufficient intake of ferrous food.
- Excessive iron loss due to prolonged chronic bleeding.
- Diseases that lead to reduced iron absorption (e.g. Crohn’s disease).
- Menstruation in women.
Certain physical changes can also increase the iron requirement: women need almost 100% more iron during pregnancy. The need is also significantly increased during breastfeeding, in the growth phase of children and with regular blood donors.
What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?
If there is too little iron in the blood, the body tissues cannot get enough oxygen and the energy metabolism only works to a limited extent. Typical symptoms are mainly weaknesses in the body:
- Brittle nails and hair.
- Difficulties swallowing.
- Shortness of breath.
- Learning and concentration difficulties.
- Mental instability.
- Fatigue and listlessness.
How is iron deficiency related to inflammation?
- Iron absorption from the digestive tract
- Iron recycling from damaged cells
- Utilization of iron from ferritin stores
Poor diet & lifestyle – as well as – hormone based birth control, autoimmune disease and obesity can also cause high levels.
How can I test & track my iron levels from home?
Lab Me’s Athletic Overload at home blood test allows you to test, track and monitor:
You can also find hs-CRP and hbA1C in our Lab Me Baseline and Executive Testing. Both of these are more focused around lifestyle based diseases rather than just iron metabolism.