I recently had an older patient describe how their blood work shows up as iron deficient even though they are taking iron pills.
Iron is an integral part of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to muscle, tissues and to the brain. Without proper levels of iron, people experience fatigue, weakness, breathing issues, headache and dizziness, slowed healing, and even pale skin.
It’s important to look at digestion when it comes to absorbing iron. Your small intestine may be inflamed and damaged leading to poor digestion. If your body can’t digest well, you won’t be able to absorb the nutrients that you need.
Look at Dr. Jeremy’s info sheet on Apple Cider Vinegar to help with stomach acid and absorption of iron. If you are taking antacids, you won’t be able to break down iron in your stomach.
It would be great to get all the iron we need from the foods that we eat, but many individuals are not able to. Let’s look at the options:
Iron Pills: Many people have difficulty breaking down and absorbing the iron found in these pills. Iron pills may remain in your system and lead to constipation.
Plant Based, or Non-Heme Iron: less absorbable than heme iron found in animal products. Spinach, Kale, and Beans. Contains 2-12% of iron needed.
Animal Based, or Heme Iron: most absorbable form, found in meat and eggs, liver, anchovies, clams, oysters and mussels, also spirulina. Contains 20-40% of iron needed.
Iron Tonic Tea: Many have found this tea to be helpful with boosting iron supplementation and improving energy levels.
Everyone absorbs iron at different rates, so if you are not a meat eater and you don’t absorb iron well, you will not be able to get enough iron in your diet.