Resolving Iron Deficiency for Women
Did you know that Iron deficiency affects one-fourth of the world’s population? It’s associated with chronic fatigue, impaired cognitive function, sallow dry skin, pruritus (itchiness), hyperpigmentation, and dry hair. Women often have low iron status because of menstruation.
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the balance of iron intake, iron stores, and the loss of iron in the body are insufficient to support the production of erythrocytes.
Let’s talk about the ways of resolving iron deficiency for women…
How do I know if I’m iron deficient?
- This status is determined by measuring certain blood markers such as ferritin, or transferrin and actual hemoglobin. We also offer Nutrigenomix which is a genetic test. Several genes can impact the risk of having low iron status including TMPRSS6, TFR2, and TF.
- The TMPRSS6 gene codes for the protein matripase-2, which affects hepcidin levels that help regulate iron balance. The transferrin receptor 2 (TFR2) gene codes for the TFR2 protein, which helps iron to enter cells. The transferrin (TF) gene codes for the protein transferrin, which is mainly responsible for transferring iron in the body. Together, variations in these genes can impact the risk of low iron status.
Should I take supplements?
- We will always recommend that you obtain iron and minerals naturally through food sources.
- Supplements are not well regulated, range in potency, and generally not recommended by physicians.
If you are unsure of your current supplements or would like to speak to a professional, we recommend booking a consultation with Dr Anna to discuss your options.
Can I get iron naturally through foods?
Chicken liver 75 g (10 mg) • White beans, 1 cup canned (8 mg) • Pumpkin seeds 2 tbsp (5.2 mg) • Spinach, ½ cup boiled (3.4 mg) • Tofu ½ cup firm (3 mg) • Tahini 2 tbsp (2.7 mg) • Ground beef 100 g (2.7 mg) • Chickpeas ¾ cup (2.4 mg) • Almonds ¼ cup (1.5 mg) • Lean ground chicken 75 g (1.2 mg)
Women 19-50 years should aim for 18 mg/day from unprocessed food sources which are easily absorbed. Consume food sources rich in Vitamin C (red pepper, orange, strawberries, broccoli) with iron containing foods, to increase iron absorption.