Have you noticed that your energy levels have taken a dive recently? Are you unsure as to why you might be feeling constantly run-down and lacking in energy? Well, this can be a common symptom of an iron deficiency, which affects around ¼ of women in the UK.
Why does a lack of iron make you tired?
Iron is involved in lots of processes within the body, the most well-known being the production of haemoglobin. This substance is required for red blood cells to carry oxygen all over the body to be delivered to tissues and organs. Without sufficient levels of iron, your body won’t be able to effectively transport oxygen, which can leave you feeling both mentally and physically fatigued.
In fact, fatigue is the most common symptom of iron deficiency, thanks to its important role in this process. However, what makes matters even worse is that iron plays a role in converting blood sugar into energy! So it’s no wonder that you might be feeling tired and run-down if your iron levels are lacking.
What other symptoms point to an iron deficiency?
However, fatigue is not the only symptom which indicates that you might be suffering from an iron deficiency. You may also notice that your skin tone becomes pale and sallow because your red blood cells have insufficient levels of haemoglobin.
Cold hands and feet can also be signs of an iron deficiency, as your body struggles to pump a sufficient supply of oxygen to your extremities. What’s more, heart palpitations can be caused by insufficient iron levels as your heart is working overtime to try to get that oxygenated blood to your hands, feet and brain!
Why is iron deficiency so common?
So, if iron deficiencies can have such a significant impact on our health, why are they so common? Well, unfortunately, some people are more at risk than others, including menstruating women, especially if their periods are particularly heavy. Every month, women lose blood through their period, which can have a negative effect on their iron levels.
Diet and digestion can also affect iron levels. It’s so common for people to drink large quantities of tea and coffee, for instance, which can block your absorption of iron. What’s more, digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease can impact how much iron is absorbed from the diet and how much iron is lost, for example through stomach ulcers.
This also applies to a vegan or vegetarian diet, as iron from animal sources (like liver, red meat and seafood) is easier to absorb than iron from plant sources (spinach, kale and chickpeas). For this reason, it is important to ensure you are eating a wide range of foods in order to give your body enough iron, especially if you follow a diet with little to no animal sources of iron.
How can you increase your iron intake?
It may be difficult to get adequate iron from your diet, whether it’s because you don’t consume a lot of iron-rich foods or because your digestion isn’t up to scratch. Whatever the reason, if you are deficient in iron, a good quality supplement can help you to meet your nutritional needs.
I would recommend BetterYou’s new Vegan Health oral spray. It contains a handy combination of vitamins and minerals which can potentially be lacking in your diet, including iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iodine. Both iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies can be responsible for feelings of weakness and fatigue, so topping up on these can help to give your body the boost it needs!
What’s more, low iodine and vitamin D levels can also contribute to feelings of muscle weakness and low energy. So, if you’re feeling run-down and lacking in energy, you might need to top up on your nutrients, and this brand new spray from BetterYou is a great place to start!