Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Iron is essential to us as humans, it’s primary purpose being to transport oxygen around the body. Iron has an intimate connection with our earthliness, keeping us grounded and upright.

Supplementation, supporting absorption and increasing iron in the diet is important, but doesn’t always resolve iron deficiency. It is often a tendency that needs support. It becomes an opportunity to listen in a deeper way to the language of your body.

  • Signs iron is low…

    Feeling tired, vague & foggy minded
    Struggling with focus & concentration
    Lightheaded or dizzy
    Feeling insecure
    Anxious or worried
    Cold hands & feet
    Shortness of breath
    Delicate digestion & food sensitivities
    Hair loss

  • What happens when we have too much iron?…

    Unlike other nutrients there is no excretion pathway for iron in the body

    Fatigue & weakness
    Feeling angry or frustrated
    Uptight & impatient
    Struggling to interpret other’s feelings
    Flushed cheeks
    High blood pressure
    Joint pain & stiffness

  • Causes of iron deficiency…

    Your gut health, digestion and diet. Digestive conditions and dysbiosis affect how we absorb nutrients.

    Inflammation, infections & acute illness. When immune compromised ferritin increases and serum iron levels drop to increase the antibacterial activity of copper in the blood.

    Thyroid imbalance. Iron is essential in making thyroid hormones, symptoms of thyroid imbalance are very similar to those of iron deficiency.

    Your menstrual cycle. Low iron very often makes periods heavier as it can affect the lining of the uterus. The heavier bleed leads to more iron loss and a spiral is created.

    Chronic stress, depression or anxiety is depletive and can impact many aspects that contribute to iron deficiency. Low iron exacerbates these symptoms and another spiral develops.

  • Ideal Iron Rich Foods

    Technically iron is more bio-available from meat sources, than plant sources however,  the less iron you have, the more your body will absorb, boosting the bioavailability of iron from all sources but giving plants the edge because Vitamin C found in plant foods also boosts iron absorption.

    Excellent sources of iron include beans, lentils, tofu, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, whole grains, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, pumpkin, squash and salad greens.

    Dried herbs and spices pack the largest amount of iron gram for gram, Oregano, Thyme, Paprika, Cumin are some of the best.

    Often, if we are low in iron we’re also low in other nutrients, especially B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Selenium & protein. You may be missing out on them in your diet, or iron is needed to process these nutrients.

  • Which Iron supplement to choose?

    Ferrous sulfate is the most common form of iron prescribed by medical practitioners but it isn’t ideal and can cause digestive complications.

    Iron bisglycinate, iron amino acid chelate or iron citrate as the best supplemental forms of iron to choose from, they are well absorbed by your gut and are very well tolerated digestively.

    The best dose for you always relates to your iron levels so always seek a Naturopaths or Nutritionists support for the ideal dose for you. It is important to get this right & it’s important to only take iron supplements if you know your iron levels are low.

  • How to increase iron absorption

    Supporting gut health is the key to supporting iron levels. Reducing inflammation, removing possible food triggers, supporting the microbiome & regulating peristalsis Increase hydration, include digestive herbal teas, anti-inflammatory foods and omega 3 fatty acids.

    Encourage the diversity of the microbiome with fermented foods and a wholefoods diet.

    Any iron supplements should be taken in the morning and with food. Studies also found absorption was increased when taken after morning exercise.

    Eat iron rich foods with Vitamin C, this also increases absorption. A big squeeze of lemon over your food will do the trick.

    Take iron supplements at least an hour away from other mineral supplements, especially zinc and copper. Simply put, the body processes them in a very similar way, so it’s best to keep them apart so they each get opportunities to be absorbed.

    Dairy, coffee, tea and high tannin drinks, phytates present in unsoaked legumes and nuts reduce absorption of iron. Avoid or keep these foods to a minimum around the time you’re taking a supplement or eating an iron rich meal.

    Always take iron supplements at lease 2 hours away from pharmaceutical medications, as they can interact negatively will each other.

    Support your gastric juices. Low stomach acid reduces the absorption of iron. Enjoy my digestive elixir or lemon juice in a little water half an hour before meals to support your stomach acid.