Iron deficiency symptoms: Lesser-known symptoms include tiredness and pale complexion

In the UK it has been proven that 25 % of grownup girls and 49 % of teenage women usually are not getting sufficient of their weight loss program. It has additionally been proven that 5 % of grownup girls and 9 % of teenage women have haemoglobin ranges low sufficient to point iron-deficiency anaemia. While clinically identified dietary deficiencies usually are not that widespread the symptoms of low iron within the weight loss program can nonetheless have an effect in your well being and can improve in severity for those who proceed to lack this nutrient within the weight loss program.

Amongst girls the dearth of iron within the weight loss program is compounded by their menstrual cycle and being pregnant.

So what are the indicators you’re low in iron? Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist, particulars the symptoms.

Sudden and long-lasting tiredness

This is likely one of the most typical indicators of iron deficiency and happens as a result of you aren’t making sufficient haemoglobin which carries oxygen across the physique, stated Rob.

He added: “Without enough of this protein your tissues and muscles become deprived of energy and you heart needs to work harder to pump blood around the body which contributes to your tiredness. You can feel tired for many reasons so diagnosis may require several other symptoms to confirm deficiency.

“Technology and testing in this area is constantly evolving and there are some exciting innovations which will help you to monitor your vitamin and mineral levels on the go. santéPatch is a new non-invasive, wearable micro-patch which is placed directly onto the skin to measure and monitor your vitamin and mineral levels in just 15 minutes.

READ MORE: Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Three physical warning signs you can see

“Its unique patented technology can accurately determine your vitamin and mineral levels, identifying if the levels are high, low, or within a normal range. The data obtained is then wirelessly transmitted to an AI-powered app on your smartphone or smartwatch, explaining the findings in a simple, bite-size format.”

Pale complexion

Having pale pores and skin or a pale color on the within of your eyelids is also an indication that you’re low in iron.

Rob defined: “The reason this occurs is because haemoglobin gives blood its red colouring which is why certain areas of the body can lose their colour. Other areas of the body that may seem paler than usual include your gums and fingernails.”

Headaches and dizziness

Headaches due to iron deficiency usually are not as widespread as the opposite symptoms and usually tend to happen in girls normally alongside dizziness.

Rob suggested: “Low levels of haemoglobin in red blood cells may mean less oxygen reaches the brain causing blood vessels to swell increasing pressure and causing headaches.


“Research published in the International Journal of Hemotology-Oncology and Stem Cell Research has suggested an association between migraines and iron status in women but the link remains unclear and more research is needed.”

Shortness of breath

If your haemoglobin ranges are low you then will be unable to hold sufficient oxygen across the physique and in consequence your muscle tissue is not going to obtain what they want so that you can carry out regular each day actions.

Rob stated: “The outcome of this is that your breathing rate will increase as your body tries to acquire oxygen causing a shortness of breath.”

Dry hair and pores and skin

The lack of haemoglobin in your blood could cut back the quantity of oxygen made out there to the cells which are required for hair progress.

Rob defined: ‘When hair and skin are lacking in oxygen then they can both become dry and weak. It has been suggested that iron deficiency can also lead to hair loss but there is nothing abnormal about losing hair from everyday brushing or washing but if it starts to come out in clumps then this could indicate iron deficiency.”

Recurrent infections

Iron is involved in immunity and in particular the turnover of immune cells such as lymphocytes which are associated with the generation of a particular response to infection.

Rob recommended: “If you are suffering with more frequent or recurrent infections then this may be a sign that you are lacking iron in your diet.”

Low mood

Research has shown that a low iron status may be associated with low mood as well as feeling of anxiety and depression

Rob said: “One reason for this may be due to the relationship between iron and dopamine as this mineral is required for its production5. It has also been suggested that pregnant women are more prone to depression when deficient in iron.”

Weird cravings

This may be one of the strangest symptoms of iron deficiency but it is when people start to crave non-food items which is a phenomenon known as pica syndrome (named after the magpie who collects various items to attract a mate), said Rob.

He added: “The types of things some people may crave when deficient in iron are ice, clay, dirt, chalk or paper.”

So what should you do if you think you’re struggling with iron deficiency?

Rob suggested: “If you think you may be at risk of iron deficiency then you should contact your GP who can run a blood test to assess your status.  If your results show a low level of haemoglobin amongst other things then you will be advised to take iron supplements such as Healthspan Iron Care (£6.95 for 120 tablets) as well as being given advice about the foods you should be including more of in your diet.”

It’s additionally price noting meals excessive in iron:

  • Grilled fillet steak
  • Liver
  • Black strap molasses
  • Mussels
  • Kale
  • Dried figs
  • Soya beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Brazil nuts
  • Canned beans and pulses
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Why do you want iron in your weight loss program?

Iron is a element of haemoglobin, which is a protein molecule in purple blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all elements of the physique.  As nicely as being concerned within the manufacturing of wholesome purple blood cells, iron can also be concerned within the immune system, vitality manufacturing, DNA synthesis, muscle operate and the manufacturing of thyroid hormones.

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