Iron Deficiency – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Iron deficiency is a common anemia type. It is a condition of low blood and unhealthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transfer oxygen to the tissues of the body.

As the name tells, iron deficiency is because of insufficient iron. Without sufficient iron, your body can not create sufficient red blood cells that help them to carry oxygen. As a result, iron deficiency may cause tiredness and short breath. You can commonly correct the iron deficiency with iron supplementation. Sometimes extra tests or treatments for iron deficiency are important if your physician suspects that you are internally bleeding.


What are the causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

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According to the ASH, iron deficiency is a very common cause of anemia. There are several reasons that a person might get deficient in iron. These have:


Inadequate Iron Intake

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Consuming less iron for an extended quantity of time can lead to an iron shortage in the body. Foods like eggs, meat, and some vegetables and leafy greens are high in iron. Because iron is important during the time of rapid development and growth, pregnant females and young kids may require to need even extra iron-rich foods in their diet.


Blood Loss Or Pregnancy Due To Menstruation

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a general cause of iron deficiency in the female of childbearing age. Therefore, is pregnancy, because your body requires iron during this time to get sufficient oxygen for the baby.


Internal bleeding

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Certain medical conditions can lead to internal bleeding, which can cause iron-deficiency anemia. Examples include polyps, stomach ulcers in the intestine or colon, or colon cancer. Regular consumption of certain pain killers like aspirin can also cause bleeding in your stomach.


Inability To Absorb Iron

Some surgeries or disorders that impact the intestine can also affect iron absorption in the body. Even if you have sufficient iron in your diet, intestinal surgery or celiac disease like gastric bypass may lower the limit the iron quantity in the body can absorb.



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If you get endometriosis, you may get heavy blood loss during your menstrual periods. You may not even understand you are suffering from endometriosis because it happens hidden in the pelvic and abdominal areas outside of the uterus.



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Some conditions, such as celiac disease can make it hard to absorb sufficient iron that should pass from the families. There are also mutations or genetic conditions that can include in the problem. One of these is the TMRPSS6 mutation. This mutation may lead to more hepcidin. Hepcidin is a hormone that can block the intestines from absorbing.



Several females suffer from an iron deficiency if not taken iron supplementation because their iron stores are required to serve their own more blood volume also a source of hemoglobin for the developing fetus.


Impaired RBCs

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Bone marrow is spongy, the soft tissue in the mid of bones, and it plays an important role in forming RBCs. The marrow creates stem cells, which grow into RBCs, platelets, and white blood cells.

Several diseases can impact bone marrow, including leukemia. It is a kind of cancer that induce extra production and abnormal white blood cells, affecting the RBCs production. Problems with bone marrow can lead to anemia. Aplastic anemia, for example, begins when some or no stem cells are found in the marrow.

Other forms of anemia that happen because of low or impaired RBCs include:



Mild iron deficiency commonly does not cause complications. However, left untreated, iron deficiency can get serious and lead to health problems, including the following:


Heart Problems

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Iron deficiency may cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Your heart must pump extra blood to manage the lack of oxygen carried in the blood when you are anemic. It can lead to heart failure or an enlarged heart.


Problems During Pregnancy

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In a pregnant female, severe iron deficiency has been linked with premature birth and low birth weight child. But the condition is avoidable in pregnant females who get iron supplements as part of their prenatal care.


Growth Problems

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In children and infants, severe iron deficiency can cause anemia and delayed development and growth. Additionally, iron deficiency is linked with more infection susceptibility.


Risk Factors of Iron Deficiency?

It is a common condition and can occur in both females and males of any age. Some people may get high risk of iron deficiency than others, including:

pregnant women

women of childbearing age

people with poor diets

people who donate blood frequently

Children and infants, especially those born prematurely or getting growth of spurt vegetarians who did not change meat with different iron food. Teenagers who get more iron in times of rapid growth

Adults above the age of 65

People exposed to water or the environment

High endurance and performance like marathon runners

If you are at risk of iron- deficiency, talk to your physician to know if blood testing or dietary changes could you



Foods Rich with Iron

You can lower the risk of iron deficiency by choosing iron-rich foods.


Red Meat, Liver, Eggs, and Giblets Are Top Foods of Heme Iron

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According to the US Department of Agriculture, in extra to some non-heme iron, more the animal proteins have heme iron, adding ground beef 4 ounces of 93% lean ground meat offer 2.63mg, turkey 1.23 mg per 3 ounces of dark meat turkey, eggs 1.68 mg in 2 large eggs.

Organ meat such as giblets and liver are high in iron. For example,113 gm of chicken giblets provides 6.1 mg of iron making it a good source.

Meanwhile, the liver serves up a good amount of iron.


Oysters, Clams, Mussels

Try seafood appetizer, it comes with a good side of the iron. Bivalve mollusks like mussels, clams, and oysters have plenty of essential nutrients stated to the Harvard T.H. Chan School-of-Public-Health.

According to the USDA, 5 raw oysters provide 3.23 mg of iron, making them the best source. They are also a good source of zinc, with 27.5 mg, also vitamin B12, with 6.1 mcg.

As the NIH points out, zinc helps the immune system prevent bacteria and viruses and vitamin B12 helps to keep blood cells and nerves healthy.

If mussels, oysters, and clams are not on the common menu, common seafood choices provide some iron also said by the Mayo clinic.


Fortified Breakfast Cereals

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Choose the fortified version to begin your day with iron, may the clinic suggest it as a way to increase your iron. Check the nutrition label for the quantity of iron in every serving. According to the USDA, raisin bran has 9.39 mg of iron in each cup, and that makes it a good source. It is also the best source of fiber, a common feature of fortified cereals. The Mayo Clinic notes that dietary fiber can help to ease constipation and reduce the odds of growing heart disease and diabetes.


Pumpkin Seeds

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Pumpkin seeds are another iron food containing 2.7 mg of iron. It can be added to a variety of recipes. Include the seeds in a homemade trail combination of bread or muffin recipes. You can also use it as a topping over salad or cereal. You may also try them alone for one quick and healthy snack, one ounce packs 7 gm of protein.



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On common sushi sidekick, one cup of these raw green soybeans consists of 9 mg of iron, each USDA, making them a good source of the nutrient. Not to mention, they are the best source of minerals like copper, which helps blood vessels and keep the immune system healthy. One cup of soybeans is also the best source of copper and a good source of fiber and manganese, which also offers plant-based protein. Soybeans make a good addition to pasta dishes, or you can simply enjoy them over their own, steamed and sprinkled with some sea salt.


Prepare Black Beans

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Boiled black beans serve up 3.61 mg of iron in each cup, per the USDA, for a good source. To fill iron absorption, pair them with healthy fare like bell pepper, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. According to MedlinePlus notes, those foods have high vitamin C, which is a nutrient that helps the absorption of non-heme iron. Include beans in a salad, puree them into a dip to consume raw veggies, or toss them to stir fry.



Another legume that provides iron department is lentils. Cooked lentils provide good minerals with around 6.59 mg every cup as per the USDA. And they provide 5.6g of fiber every cup, making them a rich source. Fiber may also help to reduce cholesterol and balance your blood sugar, according to the Harvard T.H.Chan-School-of-Public-Health. Lentils are also a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, they are the best addition to each from salads and soup to chili and burgers.



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Spinach also provides rich iron. One cup of this healthy green delivers 3.7 mg of iron, also some protein, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A and E.

Calcium is important to keep your bones strong, as stated by the Mayo Clinic, vitamin A is helpful for your immunity and vision, and vitamin E helps vision, blood, skin, and brain.

The similar serving size of raw spinach, which is more loosely filled than when made cooked, provides you with almost one mg of iron, providing some minerals, according to the USDA.

While the leafy green often gets a bad rap in the taste among kids, it is an easy ingredient to add to recipes. It is good when paired with high vitamin C foods.


Sesame Seeds Taste Nutty

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Sesame seeds have the best nutty taste and rich iron source. The seed consists of some iron-1.31 mg each tablespoon, per the USDA, and provides a slew of different essential nutrients like copper.

They consist of vitamin E, phosphorus, and zinc. An easy way to add the seeds into your diet is to sprinkle them over salad.


Choose foods possessing vitamin C to improve iron absorption

You can improve the iron absorption in the body by consuming citrus juice or eating different rich vitamin C goods at the same time while taking iron foods. Vitamin C present in citrus juices such as orange juice helps the body to absorb dietary iron in a better way.

Vitamin C is also present in:


Although broccoli does not have high iron like other veggies, about one mg every cup, Broccoli has high vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.


To increase the iron amount you get from mushrooms, eat them cooked. Cooking mushrooms can boost the total iron amount, mostly due to mushrooms shrinking in size when they are cooked.



Asparagus packs a punch when it comes to iron content, when consuming it raw, specifically. Thomason points out that a cup of raw asparagus has almost 3 mg of iron.



Potato also provides rich iron of 2 mg. Additionally; potatoes are the best source of vitamin C which helps to increase iron absorption.


Black beans


It provides 4 mg of iron in each cup, and cooked black beans with nutrition’s. It is an excellent source of soluble fiber which helps to lower digestion and cholesterol.



Chickpeas are another food to add iron. One cup of cooked chickpeas offers 5 mg of iron. It has high magnesium and potassium, two major electrolytes that help control blood pressure and fluid retention.

Navy beans

Navy beans have more iron. It has 4 mg of iron per cooked cup. They help reduce the chronic risk of disease.


Iron in Grapefruit

Not much, but iron provides some grapefruit. Consuming half of white grapefruit provides 0.07 mg of iron, and even though red and pink grapefruits are lightly higher in iron, they only offer 0.1 mg of each grapefruit half. You would need to consume more grapefruit to increase iron consumption.



One cup of sliced kiwi provides 0.56 mg of iron. This amount provides % of recommended daily value of iron for a healthy adult, and 3% of the RDA of iron for an adult female.

Controlling iron deficiency anemia in infants

Feed your baby iron-fortified formula or breast milk during the first year. Cow milk is not a healthy source for babies under a year. After the age of 6 months, begin feeding your baby iron-fortified cereals or pureed meats two times a day to promote iron consumption.


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