Iron is an essential mineral that helps us form haemaglobin in our red blood cells so we can carry oxygen around our body, is involved in enzyme reactions and is important in our immune system.
Good food sources include liver, red meat, beans, chickpeas, nuts and dried fruits.
Recommended daily intake is 8.7mg per day but increased to 14.8mg daily for menstruating women.
Deficiency is unfortunately actually quite common (2 in 5 younger women) and something Doctors commonly investigate and treat. A large proportion of people have low iron due to inadequate intake or sometimes because of reduced absorption.
Low iron can cause a variety of symptoms including;
- tiredness / fatigue
- dizzy spells
- brittle hair and nails
- muscle fatigue
- itchy skin
- increase risk of infections
- sore tongue
- Taking Vitamin C with iron is helpful because iron absorption is improved with Vitamin C.
- You should not take iron supplements if you have a blood disorder. Please consult your Doctor especially if you have medical conditions like haemachromatosis or thalassaemia.
- Try to take iron supplements more than 2 hours apart from other medications like certain antibiotics (tetracyclines - used to treat conditions like acne), calcium tablets, warfarin and indigestion remedies.
- Although red meat can have good levels of iron, red meat should not be consumed regularly.