Are you getting enough iron? - Fusion Health

Are you getting enough iron?

Iron is one of the most important minerals in the body; it helps to maintain energy and aid healthy blood production. Yet many of us could be getting more in our diet. Fusion Health co-founder Paul Keogh talks all things iron and how to make sure you’re getting enough.

iron and blood

 

Blood and iron

We all know that blood is the fluid that circulates in vessels throughout the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients to all cells. It is made up of red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells, platelets and plasma (the fluid portion of blood).

Red blood cells (RBCs) contain the important protein haemoglobin, which gives blood its red colour and has the function of carrying oxygen for transport to the cells of the body.1 Haemoglobin contains iron and is responsible for two-thirds of the body’s iron stores.1

 

Iron and energy

Iron helps the body to produce healthy RBCs and haemoglobin.1

It’s also vital for maintaining energy levels in the body.1

 

Are you getting enough iron?

Iron deficiency is the most common single nutrient deficiency worldwide.1,2 Some people need more iron than others, including growing children, women who are menstruating or iron deficient in pregnancy and vegetarians.1

 

Where to get more iron

There are many sources of iron you can include in your everyday diet, including:

  • Red meat, poultry and fish
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils and beans1

If you aren’t getting enough iron from your diet, consider taking an iron supplement to prevent deficiency. However, there are many iron supplements to choose from and some are better quality than others.

Iron glycinate (also known as iron bisglycinate or iron (II) glycinate) is more readily absorbed than some other forms of iron such as iron sulfate. Iron glycinate is also gentle on the digestive system.

 

What helps iron absorption?

Aside from taking a readily absorbed form of iron such as iron glycinate, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of your iron-based meal or supplement:

  1. Include a source of vitamin C (such as broccoli, spinach or tomato) in your meal, to enhance the absorption of iron
  2. Avoid having tea and coffee at the same time as an iron-rich meal as they can inhibit iron absorption
  3. Soak and cook lentils and beans before cooking them to remove phytic acid, which inhibits iron absorption1

 

References

  1. Wessling-Resnick M. Oregon State University 2016. Viewed 26 Sep 2019, lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iron
  2. World Health Organization. Micronutrient deficiencies. Viewed 26 Sep 2019, who.int/nutrition/topics/ida/en/

 

Paul Keogh is the co-founder of Global Therapeutics P/L trading as Fusion Health.

 

Sign up to our free enewsletter