Naturopathy & Nutrition

Iron (Fe) – The Strength of it.


Iron is essential for maintaining good energy levels and optimal health and is arguably one of the most important minerals, particularly as it is involved in carrying oxygen to every cell in your body. Haemoglobin is the body’s oxygen-carrying protein and where you find approximately two-thirds of your Fe ; therefore, without adequate iron the transportation of oxygen is affected. As Fe is involved in maintaining healthy immunity, it’s no wonder you don’t feel great when your levels are low!

The following symptoms can indicate low iron levels:

• Fatigue and lethargy;

• Frequent colds and flus;

• Paleness inside the mouth and lower eyelid;

• Fuzzy head, not thinking clearly;

• Low body temperature;

• Dizziness; and/or

• Restless legs or leg cramps at night.

Fe deficiency can be mild, however when it is very low you can become what is called ‘anaemic’. Low Fe can be a result of not obtaining enough from your diet. Factors that may cause low iron include tea and coffee intake, blood loss, pregnancy or poor absorption as a result of underlying gut problems. Teenagers, the elderly, women post partum as well as vegetarians and vegans have a greater risk of being low in Fe.

It is important to include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet to maintain a healthy intake. Animal foods provide a good source of iron, including beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, fish and oysters., and sardines. Plant-sources of iron include molasses, shiitake mushrooms, dark green leafy vegetables, lentils, dried fruits and berries also contain high amounts of iron.

Fe works best in your body with the help of other nutrients:

• B vitamins: Vitamins B6, B12 and folate are involved in Fe transportation and red blood cell production. Taking an essential B vitamin can help you build healthy cells and move energising oxygen around your body.

• 5-MTHF: Known as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate _ the activated form of folate. It is the same form made by your body and is readily utilised.

• Vitamin C: It has long been known that vitamin C increases the absorption of iron; therefore when taking iron, ideally pair it with vitamin C.

Side-effects, such as constipation, are commonly complained about with certain forms of Fe. Therefore it is important to choose a highly- absorbable form of Fe to minimise the chance of gut symptoms. Ask your Practitioner for a gut-friendly, vegan form of iron that is a highly-absorbable and therefore reduces the chance of constipation occurring.

Your Practitioner can recommend a suitable iron formula with all the necessary nutrients needed to restore your energy levels and maintain healthy immunity.

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