The first sign of iron deficiency that most people notice is exhaustion. It's not the normal kind of exhausted—it's the deep-down, can barely function, whole body exhaustion. Still, while being tired can be a sign of iron deficiency, it's also a sign of many other health problems, making it difficult to narrow down.Iron deficiency is most common in women. In men, iron deficiency is generally caused by giving blood or long-distance running. But for women, our day-to-day life can create this exhausting deficiency. There are two reasons you may become deficient:
…and for many, it’s a combination of the two. Iron plays a significant role in making red blood cells, which transport oxygen and energy throughout our bodies. Without enough iron our bodies need to work extra hard…and that’s extra exhausting. Iron deficiency is extremely common in Canada, yet many of us don’t even know we’re low. Feeling tired has just become the norm for many of us…but it doesn’t have to be.
How to diagnose iron deficiency
A simple blood test from your doctor can tell you if your ferritin level is low. Ferritin is your iron storage, which should remain within parameters if your body is able to keep up with the demand. A secondary test is hemoglobin levels, which indicate anemia, or the level of iron in your blood. If you’re feeling tired and have a heavy period, a history of iron deficiency, a lot of exhaustion, and/or you’re a runner then it’s a good idea to get tested. Still not sure? Here are some lesser-known signs of an iron deficiency:
Signs of iron deficiency:
Your body prioritizes your more crucial bodily functions over your hair, meaning hair loss is one of the first physical signs of iron deficiency.
If you suspect you need supplemental iron, be sure to visit a doctor. They may recommend taking an iron supplement along with Vitamin C in order to improve absorption. To support healthy iron levels, consider Flora Iron+, a highly absorbable iron and B vitamins formula available as a liquid as as capsules. (capsules available only in Canada)
About the Author: Lisa Kilgour
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), founder ofLisaKilgour.com, and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.