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Why Am I Iron Deficient? The Common Causes Of Low Iron

Iron Deficiency

Why Am I Iron Deficient? The Common Causes Of Low Iron

Are you concerned that your iron levels might be low? Or perhaps you’ve already been diagnosed with iron deficiency?

Low iron is one of the most common nutrient conditions we come across here at Burnett House. But to address your low iron levels, we need to understand why your iron is depleted in the first place.

Why you might be iron deficient

There are four main reasons that someone becomes iron deficient:

  • You are not consuming enough – this is often the reason that we first think of when it comes to low iron. It might be that you do not eat much red meat or other iron rich foods. Or it could be that you are vegetarian or vegan and not including enough high-iron foods.
  • Your gut is not absorbing enough iron – if you eat iron-rich foods but you do not absorb the iron, it can lead to low iron.
    This may be that you are unable to break food down enough to access iron, for example low stomach acid. Or it could be that it is not absorbing across into the body, which is common with Coeliac disease and other gut conditions.
  • Your iron levels are low due to blood loss – this is a particular concern for menstruating women. If you have a condition such as endometriosis you will be at a higher risk. But even blood loss that is considered ‘normal’ can contribute to low iron.
    Severe injuries that lead to blood loss can also affect your iron levels.
  • You have a condition that is depleting your iron stores – Other conditions can use up iron including pregnancy, infections, autoimmune disease (Coeliac disease) and even high exercise levels.

It is not uncommon for people to have more than one contributing factor to their low iron levels. If you simply eat more iron-rich foods but do not address the other issues, you may still struggle to maintain your iron levels.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

Not sure if you are iron deficient? The only way to know for sure to get a blood test and check your levels. But there are a few signs that suggest low iron, including:

  • Low energy
  • Weakness
  • Feeling breathless
  • Dizzy spells
  • Pale appearance
  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat
  • Brittle nails

However, these can be caused by other health issues. That is why working with a qualified health practitioner can help you to identify the reason behind your symptoms.

Should I take an iron supplement?

If you think that you have low iron, you might think about an iron supplement to correct it. However, there are a few reasons to consider if this is the right option for you.

Supplements such as iron can vary in terms of quality and absorption rate. The options found over the counter and even those recommended by doctors might contain high doses of iron, but the body is unable to absorb it fully. So, you may not get a therapeutic dose and continue to suffer from low iron.

Low absorption leads to symptoms such as dark stools, constipation, bloating and abdominal pain.

This is why we recommend using high-quality supplements that contain the right form of iron. Many practitioner-only brands also incorporate supportive nutrients to boost absorption.

The other big concern with taking an iron supplement before confirming your levels is that it could be dangerous. Many of the symptoms of excess iron are similar to low iron. So if you have high iron, you could do serious damage to your body by taking iron supplements.

The best option is to get your levels tested. If your levels are low or even on the lower end of ‘normal’, you might consider a supplement.

Are you concerned that you might be iron deficient, or looking to correct your low iron levels? The team at Burnett House are here to help.

Our qualified naturopath Trish can arrange any relevant testing and create a tailored treatment plan to address the causes behind your low iron levels.

To book an appointment with Trish at our Bundaberg clinic, call us on (07) 41522372

© 2019 by Burnett House
84 Burnett St
Bundaberg South QLD 4670
ABN: 88 973 250 774
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