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Can Low Iron Cause Extreme Fatigue

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What Are The Symptoms Of Iron

Low Iron and Fatigue

The following are the most common symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal paleness or lack of color of the skin

  • Irritability

  • Enlarged spleen

  • A desire to eat peculiar substances such as dirt or ice

The symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia may resemble other blood conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Got Fatigue Increase Your Ferritin

Ferritin levels are important for everyone. Whether youre male or female, an avid exerciser or a couch potato. If your ferritin levels are too low, you may feel fatigued and run down. Fatigue can often be linked to inadequate iron in the blood. And since ferritin is a marker of long-term iron intake, it’s perfect for determining whether that worn-down feeling can be linked to your diet. Here’s how analyzing the ferritin levels in your blood can help increase your energy levels.

What is ferritin, and why is it important?

Ferritin is a type of protein that binds to iron. In fact, most of the iron that is stored in the body is bound to ferritin, which makes it a good marker for how much iron you have. Iron is an essential mineral that is a part of the protein hemoglobin, which is found in all the bodys red blood cells. Hemoglobin works to supply the muscles and other organs with enough oxygen, as well as to help the body to convert carbohydrates and fat into energy. Maintaining optimal levels of iron is important for athletes and non-athletes alike because iron plays the following important roles in the body:

  • Maintains the health of hair and skin
  • Fights infection and preserves the bodys immune system
  • Helps to create energy

Why do low ferritin levels make you tired?

Tell me how much iron I need!

Certain people are at risk of iron deficiency

What to do to increase iron stores in your blood

What Are The Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency

Your body uses iron, a mineral, to make hemoglobin. This helps your blood carry oxygen throughout the body. If you arent getting enough iron, this can limit oxygen flow and anemia may develop.

If you show up at the doctors office looking pale, especially around the eyes, and complaining of constant chills and exhaustion, your doctor is likely to test for iron deficiency. Other symptoms include bruising, dry skin and a bloated feeling.

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What Do I Need To Know About Iron Pills

Your doctor may recommend iron pills to help build up your iron levels. Do not take these pills without talking to your doctor or nurse first. Taking iron pills can cause side effects, including an upset stomach, constipation, and diarrhea. If taken as a liquid, iron supplements may stain your teeth.

You can reduce side effects from iron pills by taking these steps:

  • Start with half of the recommended dose. Gradually increase to the full dose.
  • Take iron in divided doses. For example, if you take two pills daily, take one in the morning with breakfast and the other after dinner.
  • Take iron with food .
  • If one type of iron pill causes side effects, ask your doctor for another type.
  • If you take iron as a liquid instead of as a pill, aim it toward the back of your mouth. This will prevent the liquid from staining your teeth. You can also brush your teeth after taking the medicine to help prevent staining.

Get More Iron To Help Get Your Energy Back

What Causes Anemia? How to Treat Anemia and Spot the Symptoms

Adding more iron to your diet can help combat chronic fatigue along with other iron deficiency symptoms, getting more hemoglobin and oxygen flowing efficiently throughout your body to help regain your energy and wellbeing. You can do this by eating more iron-rich foods . An oral iron supplement is also a good idea and something that your doctor or pharmacist can help you with as a preventative measure or for treating your iron deficiency.

Finally, since iron deficiency can be caused by more than simply not getting enough dietary iron, a visit to the doctor can rule out any underlying causes. Its always better to be safe than sorry, so talk to your doctor about your symptoms in order to take appropriate action.

Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individuals unique health care needs

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Dry And Damaged Hair And Skin

Dry and damaged skin and hair can be signs of iron deficiency .

Iron deficiency lowers the level of hemoglobin in the blood, which may reduce the amount of oxygen available to cells that cause hair growth .

When skin and hair are deprived of oxygen, they can become dry and weak.

Iron deficiency is also associated with hair loss, and some research suggests it could be a cause (

20 ).

Restless legs syndrome is a strong urge to move your legs while theyre at rest. It can also cause unpleasant and strange crawling or itchy sensations in your feet and legs.

Its usually worse at night, meaning that you may find it difficult to sleep.

The causes of restless legs syndrome are not fully understood.

However, around 25% of people with iron deficiency anemia have restless legs syndrome. The prevalence of restless legs syndrome is nine times higher in people with iron deficiency compared to the general population .


People with iron deficiency anemia have a higher chance of experiencing restless legs syndrome, which is a strong urge to move the legs when at rest.

The main aim of treatment is to restore hemoglobin levels to normal and replenish iron stores.

Your doctor will develop a treatment plan that best meets your healthcare needs.

Before changing your diet or deciding on any supplements, talk with your doctor.

Fast Or Irregular Heartbeat Feeling Anxious

Noticeable heartbeats, also known as heart palpitations, can be another symptom of iron-deficiency anaemia.

Haemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen around the body. In iron deficiency, low levels of haemoglobin mean the heart has to work extra hard to carry oxygen.

The lack of oxygen available to body tissues in iron deficiency may also cause feelings of anxiety. However, this tends to improve or resolve as iron levels are corrected.

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Crohns And Iron Deficiency Anemia: Whats The Link

Inflammation in Crohns disease can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, potentially leading to iron deficiency and fatigue.

If you have Crohns disease, youre probably familiar with the fatigue that often accompanies it. Fatigue can result directly from Crohns, from its corresponding gastrointestinal symptoms, or from the psychological toll of managing this chronic condition, and it may negatively affect your work and personal life. But another reason you may be sapped of energy is iron deficiency anemia. Approximately one in three people with an IBD has anemia, according to the Crohns & Colitis Foundation. This condition develops when your blood is low in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues.

Iron deficiency anemia can be detrimental to quality of life for people with Crohns and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease . In a study published in June 2016 in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, researchers found that people with IBD were less likely to experience periods of remission if they were iron deficient.

Heres what you should know about the relationship between Crohns disease and iron deficiency anemia, and about identifying and getting treatment for this potential complication of Crohns.

Breathing Issues Dizziness And Headaches

Hypothyroidism, Low Iron and Anemia | Fatigue

When youre healthy, abundant oxygen is conveyed to the heart, muscles, and organs. With anemia, the lungs overcompensate in order to bring in more oxygen, causing breathing difficulties.

Low levels of hemoglobin prevent adequate oxygen from reaching the brain. Blood vessels swell, blood pressure drops, and it can result in headaches, neurological issues, and vertigo.

Small exertions can cause shortness of breath or fainting spells.

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Why You Need Iron

Iron is a mineral that is essential for the production of healthy red blood cells, which contain an important protein called hemoglobin. Almost 7 to 8 percent of your total body weight is blood, and about 70 percent of your body’s iron is found in hemoglobin and muscle cells.

Iron-rich blood transports oxygen and nutrients to your lungs and all parts of your body to carry out many functions, including helping to eliminate fatigue, regulate body temperature, control muscles and synthesize collagen. Iron plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system by carrying antibodies that fight infection.

Some iron is stored in your body as ferritin. Men can store enough iron for about three years, whereas women can only store enough for about six months. When iron storage gets low, hemoglobin levels decrease and can result in iron depletion or iron deficiency anemia.

How Iron Deficiency Develops In Crohns

While low iron levels in your body can have a number of potential causes, in people with Crohns disease, the most common cause is bleeding in the digestive tract. When this happens, people are usually unaware that they are losing blood, says James F. Marion, MD, a gastroenterologist and IBD expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Thats because the blood loss can happen gradually over a long period of time, without overt symptoms.

In people with Crohns disease, Dr. Marion says, this blood loss usually occurs because of disease activity. The digestive tract contains lots of blood vessels, he notes, which can rupture when Crohns-related ulcers and fissures penetrate beneath the inner mucosal layer of the intestines.

Anyone with Crohns disease can develop iron deficiency in this way. But Marion notes that people who already have a higher risk of iron deficiency to begin with namely women of childbearing age, who may lose a significant amount of iron each month in their menstrual blood are more likely to develop the condition, and to develop it more quickly.

People with Crohns disease can have anemia thats not related to iron deficiency. Other potential causes of low hemoglobin include vitamin B12 deficiency due to poor absorption in the intestines, as well as anemia of chronic inflammation a form of anemia, Marion notes, thats often seen in many chronic and inflammatory disorders.

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Check If You Have Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Symptoms can include:

  • tiredness and lack of energy
  • shortness of breath

Less common symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • headaches
  • hearing ringing, buzzing or hissing noises inside your head
  • food tasting strange
  • hair loss you notice more hair coming out when brushing or washing it
  • wanting to eat non-food items, such as paper or ice
  • finding it hard to swallow
  • painful open sores in the corners of your mouth

Iron Supplements: Do They Make A Difference

10 Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

We discuss in much more detail the dangers of too much iron in Part Two of this article. The ferrous sulfate used in the study cited above is the most commonly prescribed form of iron supplementation by conventional healthcare practitioners.

However, naturopathic physicians and other integrative healthcare practitioners trained in nutritional supplementation will often recommend other forms of supplemental iron which are better absorbed and cause less side effects in order to achieve normal iron levels. To learn more about these supplements and additional alternative remedies to fight fatigue symptoms, read Part Two of this article.

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Unusually Pale Complexion And Nails

The skin is the largest organ in the human body. A healthy complexion has a glow, which is due to the capillaries under the skin that lend a pink touch.

With anemia, those capillaries lose red blood cells or function inefficiently and dont have the natural pink tint. The skin may even take on a yellowish tone.

Therefore, pale skin is a common sign of anemia. It can be all over the body or limited to one area, such as the face, gums, or inside the lips or lower eyelids.

Likewise, fingernails that are all-white, yellowish, or thin may indicate anemia. Other signs can be abnormalities such as upwardly or inwardly curved nails, raised ridges, and brittleness. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and will likely perform tests.

Stage 1 Deficiency Without Anemia

This stage occurs when your body only requires about 19mg/day of the daily recommended amount of iron. People who suffer from this condition typically do not show any obvious symptoms. Their bodies still absorb adequate amounts of iron, but they just cant store it efficiently.

This stage lasts up to six months before progressing into

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When Is The Best Time To Take Iron Supplements

You want to make sure you take your iron separately from calcium-rich foods such as dairy products. In contrast, vitamin C helps with iron absorption. Typically, iron is recommended to be eaten separately from food in order to optimize absorption. That said, if you experience nausea with iron supplements, you can take them with food that doesnt contain calcium.

Testing For Iron Deficiency

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If you suspect you might have an iron deficiency, you should make an appointment with your medical professional to arrange a test before commencing iron supplementation. This is important because iron is a Goldilocks mineral not too much and not too little. Excess iron is damaging to your body. There is a very good reason oral iron supplements are required to have child safety lids!

Necessary testing to determine your iron status includes

  • Iron studies
  • Full blood count

Iron deficiency is both a cause and a symptom that may point to other imbalances in your body, so its important to track these down so the underlying cause can be corrected.

To learn more about optimising your intake of iron in your diet, check out this article.

  • Lopez A, Cacoub P, Macdougall IC, Peyrin-biroulet L. Iron deficiency anaemia. Lancet. 2015 6736 1-10. doi10.1016/S0140-673660865-0.
  • Camaschella C. Iron deficiency anemia. N Engl J Med. 2015 3721832-1843. doi 10.1056/NEJMra1401038.
  • Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence Based Guide. 3rd ed. Chatswood, NSW Elsevier 2010.
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    How To Find Out If You Have Low Iron

    The only way to know if you have iron deficiency is through a blood test. A blood test will reveal whether you have low iron, and where you sit on the iron deficiency spectrum. Other tests may be needed to identify whether there is an underlying cause for low iron, such as impaired absorption.

    Your doctor may recommend iron supplements if your iron levels are very low, or your requirements are very high. Follow your doctors advice about how often you need to take them, and for how long.

    Causes Of Low Ferritin Research Findings

    In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study, French and Swiss researchers decided to check low ferritin symptoms. They wanted to see whether iron supplementation would help women with fatigue symptoms who had either low or borderline ferritin levels but were not anemic .

    Interestingly, the normal reference range for ferritin in women is typically 18 to 160 mcg/L, but the researchers considered any level below 50 mcg/L to be borderline low.

    The researchers randomly assigned 198 women with unexplained fatigue to take either 80 milligrams of iron a day or a placebo. Over 12 weeks, women on iron supplements noticed a significant improvement in their fatigue. On average, scores on a standard measure of fatigue fell by nearly half from about 25 to 13, on a scale of zero to 40 among women getting the extra iron.

    Those in the placebo group also improved, but not as much as those in the iron group. They concluded their study by stating that in women with unexplained prolonged fatigue, iron deficient should be considered when ferritin values are below 50 µg/L, even when hemoglobin values are above 12.0 g/dL.

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    Why Does Iron Deficiency Make You Tired

    Iron is an essential nutrient. Iron aids in producing hemoglobin which helps carry oxygen throughout your body . This means that when the body is lacking iron , your body has to work harder to get the oxygen and energy it needs. This can make you feel sluggish and fatigued and, as you can imagine, this can impede daily function, performance, ability to concentrate, and so forth.

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    8 symptoms that indicate iron deficiency

    Your body is brilliant and is constantly sending signals to you about whats going on inside. Some nutrient deficiencies can become apparent with these signs, and its beneficial to be able to recognize them.

    While people generally get enough of the vitamins and minerals they need, there can be some nutrients they can lackone of these nutrients being iron. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency across the globe its estimated that 30% of the worlds population is anaemic primarily due to iron deficiency.

    An important dietary mineral, iron is needed for various bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in your blood, which is essential in providing energy for daily life. If you dont have enough iron in your diet, the iron stores within your body become depleted. This can make you feel tired and lower your immunity, leading to anaemia.

    The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency can vary depending on the severity, your age and current state of health in some cases people experience no symptoms at all. Most people dont realize they have mild anaemia until they have a routine blood test.

    Not sure whether you need to book a test? Here are some of the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency you should be looking out for:

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