Not enough iron? So fill the store with iron
Millions of people suffer from iron deficiency. Women are particularly often affected. Many people quickly resort to nutritional supplements when the deficiency is discovered or even suspected. However, iron needs can usually be met by eating a balanced diet.
If you have an iron deficiency, you should not resort to dietary supplements too quickly. Iron needs can usually be met with a good diet. (Image: Andreas Berheide / stock.adobe.com)
Iron deficiency is one of the most common symptoms of deficiency around the world, according to experts. Millions of people are affected, women more than men. Some people with the condition take iron supplements. However, adequate iron intake can usually be achieved with the right foods.
Why women are affected more often
As the health insurance fund hkk explains on its website, women in particular are affected by iron deficiency and therefore anemia – for two reasons: on the one hand, they regularly lose a certain amount of blood and therefore iron during menstruation. In contrast, they eat less meat and less meat on average than men.
Vital trace element
The vital trace element is involved in many processes in the human body, including the transport of oxygen as a component of the red blood pigment (hemoglobin) and the storage of oxygen in muscles, is explained on the Austrian public health portal “Gesundheit.gv.at”.
In addition, the mineral is necessary for the formation of blood, the functionality of various enzymes and metabolic processes.
And iron is important for hair growth and hair health, according to an article from the famous Cleveland Clinic (USA). According to experts, iron deficiency can therefore be associated with hair loss.
The most common symptoms of deficiency symptoms include general fatigue, fatigue, lack of motivation, and dizziness.
Cover iron needs with food
As the Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR) explains, almost all foods contain iron, albeit mostly in very small amounts. According to experts, meat is the best supplier of iron because it is the best source of iron for the body.
Some plant foods are also high in iron, such as beets and legumes, as well as whole grain flour products. Their contribution to the satisfaction of needs is however less, because iron from foods of plant origin cannot be used as efficiently by the body. Most of the iron in this country is absorbed by bread, meat and sausages.
Important to know: tea and coffee, magnesium and calcium, also contained in high proportions in milk, hinder the absorption of iron, explains the professional association of gynecologists (BVF) on the portal “Frauenärzte im Netz” . Vitamin C, on the other hand, dramatically improves iron absorption.
When nutritional supplements are needed
The recommended intake for adults is 15 mg of iron (women) and 10 mg (men). A daily intake of 30 mg of iron is recommended for pregnant women and 20 mg for women who are breastfeeding.
As indicated on “Gesundheit.gv.at”, the recommended amount of 30 mg of iron per day is difficult to implement through the diet. Therefore, an additional dose of iron may be considered – but only after consulting a doctor (gynecologist).
However, iron supplements often cause constipation, explain experts at the Cleveland Clinic. And “internet gynecologists” point out that iron therapy can discolour stools black, which is why there is no need to worry.
Care should be taken that the iron supplement is taken one to two hours before or after meals, otherwise unpleasant abdominal pain may occur.
And iron tablets should not be taken at the same time as certain antibiotics (tetracyclines) or antacids (medicines for protecting the stomach), as they prevent each other from being absorbed by the small intestine and therefore cannot not act. (a d)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Cleveland Clinic: I’m Low in Iron – Can This Cause Me to Lose My Hair ?, (Accessed 29.09.2020), Cleveland Clinichkk health insurance: Minerals: important substances for the body, (accessed 29.09.2020), hkk health insurance company Austrian health portal “Gesundheit.gv.at”: Eisen, (accessed 29.09.2020), Gesundheit.gv.at Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR): Questions and answers about iron in food, (consulted on 29.09.2020), Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR) Professional Association of Gynecologists: Iron Deficiency Anemia: Therapy, (consulted on 29.09.2020), online gynecologists
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.