Iron is one of the key nutrients we need to have for normal bodily functions. We specifically need it to produce red blood cells which support the immune system, mental functions, energy, and muscle strength. So, essentially, without enough iron in the body, we’d have an array of complications. Since the body cannot produce iron, we need to get it from the food we eat. However, many times, people don’t take the recommended daily amount. In fact, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Here’s a look at how much iron you actually need every day:
- Adult women under 50: 18 mg
- Adult men under 50: 8 mg
- Pregnant women: 27 mg
- Lactating mothers: 9 mg
- Adult men and women over 50: 8 mg
Therefore, it’s not only necessary to eat iron-rich foods daily to ensure that you have enough iron in the body but also to take iron supplements and monitor your body to ensure that you don’t develop iron deficiency-related complications. There are many dangers associated with an iron deficiency that range from fatigue to low sex drive. Here are some.
One of the first symptoms of iron deficiency is extreme fatigue. Since iron helps to produce hemoglobin which supplies oxygen to the body, it’s the backbone of our energy source. A deficiency will mean that your body is not getting enough oxygen which deprives the tissues and muscles of energy. Unfortunately, many people assume that tiredness is simply part of life and ignore this symptom until things get serious. If you experience unusual tiredness, it’s necessary to consult a doctor. 6 Common Causes Of Chronic Fatigue
Iron deficiency cannot cause mental health diseases but it can increase the risk of developing a mental disorder. Iron not only helps supply oxygen to the brain but also maintains the muscles so your brain functions remain sharp. Therefore, insufficient iron in the body can trigger mental issues like panic attacks, mood swings, and depression. It’s necessary to keep your iron levels up to avoid or manage mental illnesses. 7 Common Types of Depression
There’s a link between iron deficiency and heart disease since iron is essential in supporting muscle strength. According to research, iron deficiency is found in up to 20% of people with heart failure. They found that chronic iron deficiency can increase the size and weight of the heart leading to irregular heart rate and diseases such as stroke or heart attack. It’s recommended for heart disease patients to take iron supplements to improve symptoms and reduce the need for a hospital admission. Different Types Of Heart Disease And Managing Them
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency since their blood volume expands which requires more iron in the system. There’s an array of complications that can arise if a woman experiences iron deficiency during pregnancy. This condition not only affects the mother but also the child. Some complications in the child include premature birth, low birth weight, infant death, and growth delays.
Furthermore, iron deficiency after delivery has been associated with an increased risk of postpartum depression, increased prevalence of infections, fatigue, and exhaustion, and lower quality and quantity of breast milk produced.
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Low Sex Drive
Men who have an iron deficiency will experience a weak erection since the energy needed to sustain an erection is compromised. In general, both men and women can experience low sex drive if they have an iron deficiency. Sex is an intense activity that requires physical energy. Since insufficient iron leads to extreme fatigue and weakness, it’s hard to be in the mood when you feel tired.
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Hair Loss & Skin Problems
We need iron for collagen production which promotes healthy nails, hair, and skin. One of the common signs of iron deficiency includes pale and itchy skin, skin infections, fragile nails, and dry and brittle hair. In severe cases, you can experience poor wound healing. Increasing your iron intake through diet and supplements can help restore collagen and revive your hair, nails, and skin. 6 Myths About Balding And Hairloss
Stomach or mouth ulcers could be due to a number of causes including iron deficiency. In one study, researchers found an indicator of iron deficiency anemia in 66% of the female oral ulcer patients they tested. As mentioned, our immune system directly relies on an adequate supply of iron in the body. Therefore, when you don’t have enough iron in the system, your immunity can become compromised leaving you prone to infections. Additionally, if you have pre-existing ulcers, you’re at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency.
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