nutrition, iron

Do I need more iron in my diet?

May 12, 2017 -

nutrition, iron

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Are you experiencing dizziness, extreme fatigue, or increased heart rate, which affect your job performance or work out? Then you might need to pump up your iron levels. But, let’s look at why iron is so important for your body.


What is iron and why we need it?

Iron is an essential mineral that helps produce hemoglobin – the red blood cells that help carry oxygen to your body tissues. A simple explanation for the use of iron is that when you breathe in oxygen from the air, it flows into your lungs, crosses into your bloodstream, binds to red blood cells and is transported by the blood to almost all parts of the body. In other words, iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to our body so we can actually function. Other use of iron is to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.


Iron can only be obtained through foods and the best source of iron is animal-based foods such as red meats but also many plant-based foods such as spinach and broccoli.

Although our human body stores some iron to replace any that is lost, a low level of iron, known as iron deficiency, will lower your ability to deliver oxygen to your body. Unfortunately for the ladies, due to menstruation you are at higher risk of iron deficiency.


What are the iron deficiency consequences and how do they impact your wellbeing?

First of all, it can negatively impact your performance. This means that not only will your red blood cells do a worse job, but the amount of red blood cells may also be lowered by insufficient iron intake. A lack of oxygen will leave you breathless and feeling fatigued, which will negatively impact your ability to perform in all aspects e.g. work, sports or fitness.

Secondly, Iron deficiency affects the immune system, which means it will take you longer to fight off infections and get well.

iron deficiency consequences

Now, before you stuff yourself with spinach like Popeye or run out to nearest store to buy iron supplements, you have to keep in mind that consuming large amount of iron or taking supplements when you do not have iron deficiency can be harmful. Therefore, you might want to know before hand how well or poor you can absorb iron. Interestingly, this can be determined by your genetics.


How is your iron level determined by genetics?

There are certain genetic variations that result in a poor ability to sense and regulate the iron levels in the body, and for some people, this puts them at risk of too little or too much iron. The Athgene genetic test look at variations in two genes that regulate the uptake of iron. This can result in either too high or too low levels of iron. For example, one of the genes that are being looked at is HFE. This gene encodes the hemochromatosis protein, which prevents your body from absorbing too much iron.

All in all, whether you need more iron in your diet can be determined by how well you absorb iron and a simple gene test can reveal that.

 

Find out if you're getting enough Iron

 

If you want to gain more insights please head to this page for more information.  

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002422.htm

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-iron

https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/HFE

 

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