Could You be Iron Deficient?
I love pumping iron but making sure I get my daily dose of iron I love even more. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia. (source:http://www.irondisorders.org/iron-deficiency-anemia) . A lot of women struggle with low iron while pregnant and after giving birth, men who workout often, and vegans also struggle with adequate iron levels. If you are feeling:
- tired all the time
- often cold and chilly
- brittle hair & nails
Then it maybe a good idea to get your iron levels tested. Iron is fat soluble which makes it hard for the body to secrete high levels, therefore; one should not take an iron supplement unless it is medically advised. A simple blood test will provide iron levels to know if supplementation is needed. By the way, have you ever tasted an iron supplement? It tastes just like metal shavings! I have had low iron most of my life so in a sense I am an iron connoisseur...I would rather be a wine connoisseur.
Besides the metal taste, the biggest problem with most iron supplements is the side effects – mainly constipation which can quickly be a recipe for pain and discomfort. I was fortunate enough to find Floardix Vegan brand which is gluten free, nonGMO, free of artificial colors and flavors, and does not cause constipation - wahoo! This iron supplement also contains B1, B2, B6, B12 and Vitamin C which are essential for iron to be absorbed by the body. This is the reason that many vegans have low iron….you can eat all of the plant foods high in iron but without B12 which is primarily only found in animal products the body cannot absorb the iron. Vitamin C can also help the uptake of iron by the body. Calcium can inhibit proper absorption of iron so it is advised to take an iron supplement apart from yogurt or milk. Antacids, coffee, tea, and eggs can also inhibit iron’s absorption. I usually take my iron supplement in the early evening to avoid all of the food interactions that I commonly eat at breakfast.
It is always best if you can get the recommended iron dosage from food sources versus a supplement if possible. For some reason I have yet to figure out my body just doesn't seem to get enough without supplementation. I also find it hard to eat all day just to get the recommended dosage of a lot of vitamins and minerals. Red meat, blackstrap molasses, hemp seeds, lentils, black-eyed peas and spinach, are some of my favorite sources of iron but great to know if you have to supplement there is a great product out there without nasty chemicals or side effects.
Here is to pumping iron and eating iron!