Iron deficiency: causes and symptoms


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  • Iron deficiency: causes and symptoms
  • Iron deficiency: endangered groups of people

Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiency symptoms worldwide: Ewa 30 percent, or more than two billion people, are affected. The risk groups include women in particular. But even the complete renunciation of meat and fish products endangers the supply of the important trace element.

What does the body need iron for?

Iron is one essential trace element, that the body can not produce itself. It is especially important for the formation of the red blood pigment hemoglobin and thus the oxygen transport. But iron is also of great importance to the body as part of the power plants in the cells and enzymes.

How much iron does a person need?

The need for iron per day results from the daily iron losses over sweat, urine and stool and is between one and two milligrams. Women also lose iron during their period.

However, it is not enough to take in just one or two milligrams of iron a day. Because the body can only use about 10 to 15 percent of the iron in the diet. Therefore, the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a daily iron intake of 10 to 15 milligrams daily for adolescents and adults. Children should consume 8 to 15 milligrams of iron a day, pregnant women 30 milligrams and breastfeeding women 20 milligrams.

Causes of a lack of iron

The food iron covers at most the normal need. If this is increased, for example, during pregnancy or heavy menstruation, there is an iron deficiency. In addition, a mismatch between iron demand and iron supply may have other causes.

  • Increased need: During pregnancy and lactation, the increased need for iron in many cases can not be compensated by the diet. In this case, it is necessary to take iron tablets. Even children in the growth phase and puberty need more iron.
  • Too low iron intake: People who do not eat animal foods often have a low iron level. Although there is enough iron in plant foods, it is in a form that the body can only use poorly.
  • iron loss: Heavy period bleeding, prolonged bleeding from ulcers, chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract or bleeding hemorrhoids lead to iron loss. At high exercise levels, the loss of minerals and trace elements through the kidneys and sweat increases.

First symptoms of iron deficiency

The body can compensate for iron deficiency over a period of time, but symptoms already appear in this phase. This includes, for example:

  • brittle hair and nails
  • dry skin
  • Cracked corners of the mouth
  • Mucosal changes in the mouth and esophagus
  • burning tongue

Symptoms of anemia

As the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells becomes less and less, the oxygen supply of the cells also deteriorates. So if the body has too little iron for a long time, it will happen anemia (Anemia) with the typical symptoms:

  • ongoing fatigue
  • reduced efficiency
  • lack of concentration
  • paleness
  • dizziness
  • a headache
  • Tingling in hands and legs

The organism becomes general more susceptible to diseases.

5 facts about iron - © istockphoto, baibaz

How to get enough iron - 5 tips!

These five tips can help you to provide watch body with enough iron:

  1. Three to four times a week a portion of lean meat.
  2. Whole grains and legumes such as lentils or white beans provide iron and other valuable minerals.
  3. Combine meals with vitamin C-rich vegetables such as peppers, brussels sprouts, sauerkraut or potatoes or enjoy a glass of orange juice to eat.
  4. For iron-rich meals best on coffee, tea and milk. Keep at least half an hour away!
  5. In case of imminent iron deficiency take herbal blood supplement.




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