Iron - A Vitally Important Mineral
Anne Salazar, RH (AHG)
Iron is an essential nutrient that ensures proper growth and functioning of the body and promotes the production of proteins that transport oxygen and regulate cell development (1). In other words, it is key to many vital functions of a healthy body. Since iron is not made by the body it is necessary to consume adequate amounts of iron in your diet to preserve these bodily functions (2). If not, you may develop an iron deficiency, which can result in a condition called anemia. It is also important to know that iron can become overloaded in the body, and can cause health issues if not within the optimal range. It is recommended that before you begin supplementing with iron, you should have your iron levels tested via blood testing to verify if you are deficient and in need of supplementation, and if so, what dose of iron you should be taking in supplement form. After you begin supplementing with iron, you should also have your iron levels re-checked every three to four months to note changes in your iron levels and to know if you need to discontinue use once your iron levels are within a healthy range. This is an important step, as too much iron can actually cause adverse side effects in the body and potentially make you feel unwell.
Getting iron from food sources is the optimal way for your body to receive iron. The following food sources contain good levels of iron:
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
- Whole Grain Cereals (fortified)
- Legumes such as lentils, beans, and peas
- Red meat
Here are the top 6 reason why keeping iron levels healthy are important:
1. Improved Energy
Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to your muscles and brain. If you do not consume enough iron in your diet, the energy-using efficiency of your body will be affected. Iron helps improve focus and concentration levels, reduces irritability, and enhances stamina.
2. Enhanced Athletic Performance
Proper iron intake is very important to those who lead a very active, physical life. It can boost athletic performance because iron produces red blood cells that contain hemoglobin, which transfers oxygen to the tissues, a deficiency may lead to physical strain and poor performance.
3. Boosts the Immune System
Iron plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It is capable of preventing and treating various health conditions. The red blood cells that it produces are essential for repairing tissue and cell damage and thus, preventing any further issues. Hemoglobin in the red blood cells also boosts your immune system and ensures that it works at optimal levels.
4. Healthy Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your blood volume and red blood cells production increase to make sure that the fetus gets all the necessary nutrients. Thus, the need for iron also increases. Adequate iron intake lowers the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, low iron stores, and cognitive and behavioral deficits in infants. A pregnant woman who consumes iron in her daily diet is less likely to be attacked by a virus and suffer from infections.
5. Improves cognitive function
Your brain demands iron for functioning properly, as it requires oxygenated blood for improved cognitive functions. Iron promotes the blood flow in the brain, helps it create new neural pathways to prevent cognitive complications, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, a diet rich in iron is beneficial for quick cognitive functions and the overall health of the brain.
6. Promotes peaceful sleep
Do you often find yourself unable to fall asleep at night despite being tired to your core after a long day at work? Well, you might be iron deficient. Before the condition gets out of your hands and becomes harmful to your wellbeing, start incorporating iron-rich foods into your regular diet to not only fall asleep easily but also enjoy a deep restorative sleep every night.
So you can see that iron cannot be overlooked in our diet. It is vitally important! Unfortunately, it is often not available enough in our modern food sources and needs to be supplemented. Digestion challenges can also make it difficult for the body to properly absorb minerals like iron, thus further contributing to deficiencies. Add to this the fact that many iron supplements are hard for the body to absorb and commonly cause side effects (ex. Constipation, nausea) so it's important to know your sources of iron supplementation.
Quality supplements are an extremely important focus at Remedy. We are very cognizant of the fact that the supplements we carry must be of the highest quality, and are easy for the body to absorb and this certainly applies to our iron supplements!
The body is going to recognize iron from food much better than it would from isolated synthetic sources (such as ferrous sulfate). One of our top sellers which falls into this important category of food-sourced iron supplements is Iron Response. Not only is this iron supplement whole-food-based for absorption, but it is also fermented to make it even more bioavailable. This is also a great iron supplement for pregnant women who often have a hard time with absorbing supplemental iron or tolerating synthetic iron, do not have an issue with this. This iron can also be found in another Innate’s prenatal supplement.
Oftentimes, a patient will prefer liquid supplementation. This can be preferred because they may not want, or cannot take a pill. Liquids are easy to adjust dosing when necessary (as in the case with lowering dosage for children, for example). We carry a delicious whole food-based iron supplement called Floradix. Floradix iron supplements have been trusted by customers for decades, as they are gentle to digest and easily absorbed.
Many of our customers and patients are very excited to see the wide selection of Pure Encapsulations products on our shelves. They know the great reputation that this practitioner line comes with. So, of course, we carry their wonderful Optiferrin-C, which is an iron-based supplement formulated to support red blood cells in order to help effectively transport oxygen and ferritin in the body. It is also combined with Ester-C, a mineral that helps enhance the absorption of iron.Rest assured that the staff at Remedy can assist you in finding just the right road to take when it comes to nutritional supplementation. Should you require more intensive assistance, please consider a consultation with us.