Iron is mineral that plays a huge role in the sustenance of health and overall wellness. Its absence can lead to certain bodily functions not working as they should, which can, of course, compromise your health.
Its main purpose is to deliver oxygen in the blood to every cell in the body. Iron is also a crucial component of hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs and carries it all the way through the body.
If your body doesn’t have adequate amount of iron, it cannot generate sufficient healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Iron deficiency also leads to anemia, a condition characterized by scarce hemoglobin.
There are two forms of iron: heme iron from animal sources and non-heme from plants. The former is absorbed by the blood more readily and efficiently. Foods that are high in iron include beef, liver, oysters, beans, fortified cereals, and dark leafy green vegetables like spinach.
Not having enough iron can cause essential bodily functions to go haywire. Here are 7 indications that your body is not getting enough of it:
1. Severe weariness
Feeling extreme exhaustion is one of the most common indications of lacking iron because it means your body is experiencing difficulty in transporting the oxygen to your cells. Hence, it manifests by making you feel sluggish. Individuals with iron deficiency frequently feel lethargic, weak, and cannot concentrate on tasks at hand. Exhaustion can be an indication of multiple conditions, but if it doesn’t go away with proper rest, it’s time to have your iron levels checked to rule out iron deficiency.
2. Getting infections constantly
Iron significantly contributes to a healthy immune system. Hence, if your iron levels are low your immunity becomes compromised making you more vulnerable to infections. Red blood cells aid in the transportation of oxygen to the spleen, one of areas where infections can be fought off. They also help carry oxygen to the lymph nodes, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Thus, when you don’t get enough iron, your white blood cells aren’t as strong as they’re supposed to be because they’re not getting adequate oxygen, making you more prone to infections.
3. Your skin is pale
Pale skin is often linked to sickness, though it’s not always the case. This is because hemoglobin provides skin its rosy color. Hence, low levels of hemoglobin can make the skin appear otherwise. Regardless of your skin tone, if the area inside your bottom eyelid is lighter than normal, this may be an indication that you lack iron.
4. Your tongue is inflamed
Inadequate oxygen can also trigger muscles to be distended and become sore. Though it occurs to all muscles, your tongue is the only muscle visible to you.
5. Restless legs syndrome
Some individuals who lack iron develop restless legs syndrome, a condition that triggers you to have a strong inclination to move your legs. This urge frequently comes with a horrid, swarming feeling in the leg that can make sleeping more difficult.
Pica is a disorder characterized by the persistent eating of substances like dirt or paint. It’s been strongly suggested that people who lack iron may also develop this condition, though scientists have yet to discover the precise correlation.
7. You suffer from hair loss
Not having enough iron, particularly when it leads to anemia, can cause hair loss. This happens because hair follicles that don’t get sufficient oxygen go into a resting phase that makes the hair fall out. The lost hair doesn’t go back until anemia is treated. Though it is normal to lose 100 strands of hair daily, losing more than what’s normal can be a sign of iron deficiency, especially if it’s not growing back.
If you’re encountering the symptoms above and feel that you may be suffering from iron deficiency, consult with your doctor. This way, you can be properly diagnosed and your doctor can determine whether iron supplementation is needed or you just need to integrate more iron-rich foods into your diet.