Iron deficiency (Anemia):  Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

World Health Organization has recently declared iron deficiency a global public issue that needs immediate attention.  In fact, experts have suggested that it is the single most common nutrient deficiency that is highly prevalent in developing countries, causing a number of healthy associated consequences due to anemia. Since iron cannot be synthesized in the body, you can only rely on foods that work as iron supplements; in order to prevent this mighty epidemic.

Overview of Anemia

AnemiaIron is an essential component of hemoglobin that is involved in the transportation of oxygen to cells for all their metabolic functions. In a similar manner, the carbon dioxide that is being generated as the metabolic outcome is collected from the cellular level and brought back to the lung for exhalation. Studies have proposed that iron is also one of the crucial co-elements that are required in a number of enzymatic reactions and processes like energy production. Thus, iron contributes to the production of a number of connective tissues and neurotransmitters.

Thus, it has been already clarified that iron is a vital element of the body; and can be obtained from some of the best foods that work as iron supplements. 

Health Benefits of iron 

Hemoglobin carries oxygen

Source of energy: An iron can be a tremendous source of energy, which is generated through hemoglobin transportation at the cellular level. Due to lack of iron, the body has to struggle to manage with its energy requirements and hence, a person with significant iron deficiency may start feeling tired as well as exhausted.

Muscle functions: Iron is required by our muscles to facilitate their contraction and relaxation process.  Healthy and strong muscles can be helpful in achieving their functional aspects in a very early manner. Studies have observed that about 70% of the iron that is being consumed is required either by hemoglobin as well as by myoglobin that is required for storage, transportation, and release of oxygen in muscles.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

DizzinessA person may be suffering from iron deficiency, if he consumes less iron through your diet or maybe the iron from the diet may not be able to absorb by the body. In that case, he is identified to be iron deficient. One of the obvious consequences of iron deficiency is anemia, which is characterized by loss of hemoglobin concentration in our red blood cells.

Some of the common symptoms of anemia are tiredness, nausea, frequent fatigue, lethargy as well as loss of appetite. Various studies have helped experts to propose the best diet for iron deficiency, which may help in combatting anemia.  Through incorporating better food that works as iron supplements in your daily diet, other manifestations of iron deficiency like sensitivity to cold, lack of attention and obesity can be controlled.

Apart from some of the commonly reported symptoms, stated herewith; some of the moderate to severe symptoms of iron deficiency can be noted as follows:

  • Dizziness
  • Strange, unusual cravings to eat foods like ice cream, clay etc.
  • Tingling sensation in the legs
  • Swelling in tongue, or soreness in the tongue.
  • Fast as well as irregular heartbeats
  • Brittle nails, especially toenails
  • Unusual headaches
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weak immune system
  • Leaky gut syndrome or interstitial bowel syndrome

People who are mostly at a risk of iron deficiency


Young children and infants: They come under the most critical category, who need iron for healthy growth, bone development as well as the development of the overall psychosocial elements.

Pregnant women: Studies have evidently confirmed that iron is responsible for the production of neurotransmitters that are responsible for brain development. They are thus required to be consumed by pregnant women in early pregnancy. Consumption of food that works as iron supplements can be helpful in the production of red blood cells, which are further required for the production of placental tissues.

Other than these vulnerable categories, certain other people may also require iron supplementation that can be obtained through a balanced diet. These people may include:

  • Women with heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Cancer patients
  • Patients with heart diseases as well as malformations
  • People who have been suffering from gastrointestinal disorders can also need extra supplementation of iron.
  • People who are on a vegetarian or paleo diet may need supplementation of iron.

Foods that work as iron supplements

eating adequate food According to the meal plan presented by experts, based upon the recent report of Centre for disease control; eating adequate food that works as iron supplements is the best way to combat consequences associated with iron deficiency.

Accordingly, some of the healthy iron-rich food can be noted herewith:

Spirulina: Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae, highly acknowledged for its nutritional profile. It is also known as one of the most abundant natural resources of iron. Experts have emphasized that vegetarians should include spirulina as the staple food due to its nutritional benefits and amount of iron supplied by the same.

Liver: Non-vegetarians, who are strictly concerned about iron deficiency and are strictly looking for some definite alternative food that works as iron supplements should only concentrate on the liver. As the liver is the prime component and is the best you can eat if you wish to fulfill your iron requirement.

Beef: Beef, especially grass-fed beef is proposed to be the second-best choice for non-vegetarians, being a rich source of iron. Experts have suggested that grass-fed beef is people friendly diet, probably due to its easy availability, good taste and easy digestive ability as compared to its other counterpart, such as grain-fed beef.

Lentils: Studies have revealed the fairly significant amount of iron proportion incorporated in lentils. Due to their easy availability and high packed nutrient availability; they can be a regular part of the diet of most of the people. These lentils are thus highly cheap and versatile elements and can be one of the best foods that work as iron supplements.

Dark Chocolates: You might have never thought about it as one of the best supplements of iron. Dieticians have proposed that almost 1 ounce of it can be consumed daily to satisfy sweet cravings as well as providing 20% of your daily iron need.

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