Iron deficiency and You: A Natural Way Back to Health

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How are you feeling lately? Are you always tired? Do your nails chip and split all year round?  Maybe you are feeling a little weak lately, and you have noticed some occasional heart palpitations. Perhaps you are getting short of breath a lot more than you used to on your daily walk with the dog. If this sounds like you, it might be time to have your iron checked.

We do that here at Balanced Care. A quick blood test can be the first step back to health, naturally. Call or email us today to schedule an appointment.

Why is iron essential in our bodies?

Iron helps us produce an oxygen-carrying compound called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in our red blood cells and serves as a “suitcase” of sorts for oxygen molecules on the way to our body tissues. When we don’t take in and absorb enough iron, we don’t synthesize hemoglobin in the right quantity.

Fewer of these hemoglobin “oxygen suitcases” in our red blood cells means that oxygen cannot be transported and utilized in our bodies to fuel our physical functions, primarily in our muscles.  That explains the symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, and heart rhythm fluctuations that can occur with iron deficiency.

Frequent Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

We can experience iron deficiency for several every-day reasons. Women are the most susceptible to iron deficiency because of blood-loss during periods. If you are female and have especially heavy periods, a periodic blood test for iron level is a good idea, especially if you are noticing any of the symptoms listed above.

Pregnancy can also be a time of fluctuating iron levels.  A woman’s body has to absorb enough iron for her own needs as well as the needs of her growing baby. Many health care providers will suggest iron supplementation for pregnant women to keep both mom and baby healthy and thriving throughout gestation.

More serious conditions like peptic ulcers, colo-rectal cancer, and colon polyps can also cause significant blood loss and may be the cause of iron deficiency as well. Intestinal disorders like celiac disease can affect your iron absorption and so can bypass surgery on your small intestine. Some types of pain relievers, like aspirin, can also cause intestinal bleeding and may influence your iron levels.

Testing Your Iron Levels

Blood test

When diving into testing for iron deficiency, it is essential to have a holistic approach to treatment, as iron deficiency can be an indication of a more severe condition. Here at Balanced Care, we are an integral part of your wellness team. We may recommend comprehensive lab testing either with our qualified staff or with your MD to get a detailed picture of all the factors that are producing your iron deficiency symptoms.

Trying to troubleshoot your iron levels on your own could result in liver damage from too much iron. We cannot easily clear excess iron from the body.  We store extra iron in the liver and other major organs, where it can build up and cause a host of problems. Proper testing for iron deficiency and accurate guidance for dietary changes and supplementation from us at Balanced Care are paramount for bringing your body to a healthy balance with this essential micronutrient.

There are many natural ways to increase your iron levels over several months gently. Here at Balanced Care, our goal is to evaluate your blood tests, performed by our qualified staff or your MD, for optimal iron levels and to create a customized treatment plan that works for you.

Natural Ways to Increase Your Iron Levels

There are many natural ways to increase your iron levels over several months gently. Here at Balanced Care,our goal is to evaluate your blood tests, performed by our qualified staff or your MD, for optimal iron levels and to create a customized treatment plan that works for you.

You can elevate your iron levels with improved nutrition. Red meat, poultry, pork, and seafood are all rich in iron and best absorbed by your body. Be sure to choose meat sources that are as chemical-free as you can, with organic and grass-fed meat options being the best, or wild-caught and responsibly sourced seafood options.

Studies show that choosing organic meats when possible increases the amount of nutrients you DO want in your food, like iron, protein, and vitamins, while decreasing the amounts of stuff you DON’T want, such as other antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and more.

Healthy Food

If eating meat is just not your thing, you can work to increase your iron by consuming more green leafy veggies, dried fruit, beans, or fortified bread, pasta, and cereal. Try to consume non-meat iron sources with vitamin C, found in citrus fruit or juice, as the combination will help your body to more effectively absorb non-meat sources of iron.

Folate and vitamin B6 are also essential components of iron absorption in your body.

You can find plenty of folate in many whole food sources like fish, poultry, green leafy veggies, fruit, and fortified cereals and other grains. Good sources of vitamin B6 exist in many of the same food sources as Folate, with a particular emphasis on dark leafy greens, papayas, and cantaloupe.

We can evaluate your current dietary choices to be sure you are getting all of the nutrients required to keep your iron at optimal levels. Again, vegetarians and vegans may need a little extra boost to achieve the correct balance of Folate and vitamin B6. It may be necessary to supplement Folate and Vitamin B6 if you are not consuming enough on your own.

We have a convenient online dispensary at Balanced Care. Once we establish your treatment protocol, you can purchase your supplements online and have them delivered to your door.

If changing your diet alone does not optimize your iron levels, we may recommend an iron supplement.  If we find that you need an iron supplement in your treatment plan, it is essential to have us at Balanced Care prescribe one for you.

Let the Professionals at Balanced Care Help You

Here at Balanced Care, we hope to provide you with the best education and treatment options for your body’s best balance-naturally. Know that our primary goal is to support your body in its natural tendency toward good health and proper functioning.

There are so many options for a natural path to wellness, and we at Balanced Care look forward to illuminating the way that is right for you. Call us today to set up your initial appointment. We look forward to serving you in health–naturally.

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