06/02/2023 By Lotuswellbeing

Iron – How Does Low Iron Affect You?

IRONKara Belgrove

Every week I see clients who come in with their latest blood tests and a diagnosis of low iron or anaemia. They have often been tired for months, and some of them have had this before, and each time they have been recommended to take a chemist brand iron supplement and many have found it has challenging side effects such as chronic constipation and also that it doesn’t seem to help get their levels up.

As a Naturopath, I spend time with these clients trying to identify why their levels are low in the first place, and also helping them to understand the impact that this has had on their health. We all know low iron can make you feel tired and sometimes dizzy if it’s low enough, but did you know it can also contribute to poor immunity, cold sensitivity, pale skin, restless legs, brittle nails and thinning hair, poor appetite and more?

Once we have an understanding of why their levels are low we move toward effective supplementation. This involves using specific types of iron, not all brands are the same! I like to use a glycinate as it has the best absorption in the gut. The timing of the supplementation is important, and I also like to add in a specific probiotic that has been found to aid iron absorption in order to raise levels quickly. Taking an iron glycinate with a strain specific probiotic means that any potential gut discomfort is minimised while absorption is maximised.

Finally I chat with clients about their diet. I am not a believer that a vegetarian or vegan diet automatically means low iron and that red meat is the only option but I am passionate about encouraging clients to eat iron rich foods while avoiding foods that interfere with iron absorption. Did you know that consuming your cup of tea near your iron supplement or iron rich meal makes it very hard to absorb the iron? Conversely did you know 1 cup of cooked lentils contains almost 7mg of iron?

So if you have low iron, whether it be a recent diagnosis, or as part of an ongoing issue, and have tried supplements in the past and found them ineffective or even uncomfortable for your gut, consider booking in with a naturopath for a chat about the best path forward for your health.

Yours in good health, Kara

To Book with Kara, please click here