Chronic fatigue can have multiple causes, including lack of exercise, dehydration and poor sleep quality.
One of the lesser-known causes is actually iron deficiency, which affects a significant portion of the population, but often goes misdiagnosed.
In fact, even a routine blood test at your doctor’s office may not be able to give an accurate diagnosis.
The Importance Of Iron
Iron is a mineral that plays an important role in the transportation of oxygen within your blood. Actually, iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that provides oxygen to your muscles and tissues. Hemoglobin is also the component of red blood cells that give your blood its red color (1)
The mineral is essential for growth, development, normal cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones and connective tissue. It’s also essential for foetal development. Iron is stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and muscle tissue (2).
When You Don’t Get Enough
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when your body is lacking iron and therefor cannot produce enough hemoglobin (3).
Common symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Frequent infections
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
- Brittle nails
- Fast heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
- Poor appetite, especially in infants and children
- An uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs (restless legs syndrome)
Low iron levels can also lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognitive function, poor immune function, low exercise or work performance and poor body temperature regulation. Unfortunately, you can experience the symptoms for years without knowing the cause.
Some people are more prone to developing anemia, like pregnant women, menstruating women, vegetarians and vegans, frequent blood donors, children and people with impaired nutrient absorption. Certain prescription drugs may also interfere with iron absorption.
Why Is It Hard To Diagnose?
Blood tests done during your regular doctor’s visits typically measure ferritin levels in your blood. The problem is, the range considered “healthy” is too broad to truly assess anemia in its early stages. Currently the standard spans from 12-150 ug/l.
However, symptoms of anemia typically only disappear when you reach 80 ug/l. Ferritin levels also tend to be high in patients suffering from inflammation or infection, making it harder to diagnose iron deficiency (4).
The best way to diagnose anemia is to preform a complete blood cell (CBC) test, which measures red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelets. This test is much more accurate because haemoglobin and white blood cell count tend to be lower in people suffering from anemia, even if they don’t present other symptoms.
How To Get More Iron
Iron is a naturally occurring mineral in many of the food you eat everyday. Heme iron, which is easiest to absorb, is found in animal foods such as meat, seafood, poultry and eggs. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods like tofu, nuts, seeds and vegetables, particularly in dark leafy vegetables like spinach. It’s important that these foods are taken with vitamin C to ensure proper nutrient absorption(5).
If you are severely anemic, talk to your doctor or naturopath before taking iron supplements. Like anything else, too much iron can be just as bad as too little.
As you increase your iron intake, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away, it can take several weeks for your symptoms to disappear.
- Your Body Is Acidic. Here’s What You NEED To Do (The Real Truth Behind Cancer…)
Ever heard of Dr. Otto H. Warburg? Unless you or your family member has suffered from cancer and tried to …
- 9 Pesticide-filled Teas You Should Never Buy (and the Kind You Should!)
Tea is one of the most popular drinks enjoyed around the world. Americans drink up to 80 billion cups of …
- Take THIS Before Bed to Melt Away Stubborn Belly Fat While You Sleep
Melt Away Stubborn Belly Fat It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate by a few pounds, even when you exercise …
- The EXACT Amount of Epsom Salts You Should Be Adding to Your Bath Based on Your Weight
Epsom salt may look like salt, but it’s actually magnesium sulfate, a mineral compound (1). Epsom salt can be used …
- 8 Things Your Eyes Are Trying To Tell You About Your Health
It’s commonly claimed that “Your eyes are the window to your soul”. While there is some debate about who originally said …
- Here’s Why Women Need More Sleep Than Men (It Has Something To Do With Their Ability To Multi-Task)
While everyone should strive to get adequate sleep, a recent study from Duke University has shown that sleep deprivation may …
- How to Use a ¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg to Fall Asleep and Relieve ALL Your Insomnia Symptoms Overnight
There’s nothing like a poor night of sleep to set you on the wrong foot for the day to come. …
- Top Doctors Are Warning Anyone Over 40 To Stop Taking Ibuprofen Immediately. Here’s Why…
What do you do when a headache settles in? Chances are, you probably do the same thing as when you …
- This Is How Much Walking You REALLY Need To Lose Weight
When it comes to weight loss, many people believe that high-intensity exercises are the only way to shed a few …
- Spray This 3-Ingredient Oil On Your Feet 10 Minutes Before Bed And You’ll Be Dozing Off In No Time!
Do you have trouble falling asleep? Can you recall the last time you had a restful sleep and woke up rejuvenated? …
- 16 Delicious Foods That Burn Belly Fat and Support Weight Loss
Obesity is a way-to-common problem in America and throughout the world. In fact, according to the Nation Health Institute, in …
- How Only 15 Minutes of Walking Can Change Everything
Walking is the most ordinary thing a human can do. Unless we have a physical impairment, we take this activity …
- Here’s What You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Baking Soda (From Fighting Heartburn To Cancer)
Baking soda is one of those things that can do pretty much anything. Whether you use it for cleaning, personal hygiene …
- Try the World’s 7 Easiest Exercises for Back Fat and Underarm Flab
Fitness is a whole-body state. Muscle strength and tone along with cardiovascular health go together to complete the picture. No …
- Remove All Toxins From The Body In 3 Days (Prevent Cancer, Excess Fat And Water Retention!)
If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, it may be time to cleanse and detox your body. Things like stress, poor …