Tuesday, 1 July 2014


I don't think it is incorrect to assume that you have heard that you need enough iron, or else you will develop anemia. Iron is necessary for health, not only to prevent anemia from occurring. What foods contain iron? When are supplements needed? What IS anemia?

Let's start with talking about iron itself. Iron is a micronutrient that is needed for many bodily processes. The most well-known and studied function of iron is its association with hemoglobin and myoglobin: these are proteins that are needed for blood. But, did you know that iron is also needed for an enzyme that detoxifies the body? Or that iron also has a role in immune functions? Probably not - neither did I at first. This is because iron's main function is that of hemoglobin synthesis.

Hemoglobin, made of iron, delivers oxygen to cells and body tissues. So, what happens when we don't have enough iron (Fe)? Less hemoglobin, meaning less oxygen to cells and tissues. This is problematic because we know that our cells need oxygen and blood to survive. A lack of iron may result in iron-deficiency anemia (IDA). Signs and symptoms may include pallor or a pale skin colour (especially on the face), feeling cold, weakness, fatigue, rapid heart rate (palpitations), and irritability.
Male adults need about 8 mg of iron a day, although this increases during pregnancy. Females also need more because of the loss of blood through mensuration, which puts their recommended iron intake at around 17 mg a day. After menopause, female iron needs drop to 8 mg, the same as men. Vegetarians may not take enough iron in the diet and may need supplements. However, it is important to remember that iron can be found in many foods. What is VERY important to know is that iron absorption is inhibited by many factors or nutrients, including calcium, fibre, and tea. However, iron absorption is INCREASED if consumed with acidic foods such as vitamin C or orange juice, as well as red meat (ex. beef). This means that while beef contains iron, it also enhances iron absorption. The picture contains some food sources of iron.
So, the question many people have is...should i take an iron supplement? Again, I am not in the place to give anyone medical advice. But what I CAN say is that if you have any concerns about your iron intake, it is a good idea to keep track of it in a journal. Also, if your family has a history of anemia, it may be a good idea to bring this to your medical team's attention. If you have symptoms of anemia such as tiredness, low blood pressure, weakness, paleness, etc., also be sure to bring this to your doctor's attention. Finally, if you do take iron supplements, remember not to take it with any diary products. Also, taking it with vitamin C will enhance absorption. I hope this post taught you something about iron!


  1. you make a good point in reminding us that we need to make shore we get enough micronutriants as well as the Macro ones.

    It comes down to not just how much we eat but what, if we do not eat the right things we will not stay healthy. I find that the prescribed fasts make me look at what I eat as well as how much.

    I am a Life Vegetarian and have never had issues with Iorn intake, but I have developed a liking for leafy green vegetables, which is brilliant as I can eat them even in the strictest fasts. :)


    1. I am veggy too and I love water melon and this is more than enough.
      as one serving 20mg iron and I take 7 servings.


  2. Each time I do blood test ,they tell me my iron is low.


  3. Even though I am not veggy and I take iron pills but I still have iron deficiency


  4. I was told also not take iron rich foods with any antibiotics or antiacid.


  5. I rather eat than taking iron


  6. The pictures of food items rich in iron is very helpful


  7. I am 78 and I am still needs my iron but because I can not tolerate it I am getting weekly injection by the nurse at hospital
    Your blog is respected and my granddaughter read it always.


  8. I do not that there are many options and varieties of food rich in iron


  9. I know many of my friends taking iron daily for years.


  10. I learnt also that iron store is the first to be depleted before symptoms of iron deficiency and ferritin is a marker of iron store but ferritin can be high in chronic disease or after an illness(acute phase reactant) and so not reliable as a marker.
    I learnt that taking iron with orange juice not with dairy or antacid is the best .
    This is good summary for every body as We all "men or women" have some iron deficiency and better take supplement.

    med student

  11. This post is describing how to identify your need for iron and what foods are rich.


  12. I was feeling very weak last year, and was dizzy a lot and was hard to wake up from sleep and I found out I was suffering low blood and was given iron pills for 6 months and this dramatically made me feel energetic and active after 2 months.
    I still take them (sometimes I forget and doctor said it is o k if you forget because I am not low any more.

    Sheila Ketson

  13. You are the IRON lady.
    Your achievement and perseverance prove you are the iron young lady


  14. All those foods have iron WOW !!!


  15. I know how important iron to my body but I never thought that all those foods rich in it.


  16. So orange is important to benefit from meat.


  17. I admit I do not get enough of those yummy foods ,.No wonder I am low in blood.

    S K

  18. You are right Marina
    We can remeber vitamin C but I always ignore our body need for iron.


  19. I am confused which brand of iron is good .I feel I need iron


  20. If my blood test are normal,still I need to take iron pills(doctor said yes ) to maintain the store .


  21. My mom had very low blood and was given iron by vein but had reaction and stopped and then got blood transfusion


  22. This post makes me believe in iron supplement


  23. This is another prove that this blog is very inforamtive and credible.
    I am very happy to know this blog


  24. I am meat eater and looking at this chart Marina ,sound like I am fine and I do not have to worry about iron I take 4 servings =80mg iron


  25. Probably not taking citrus after iron rich meal is the cause of my anemia and fatigue .


  26. I was taking my iron with my cereal and milk every morning and that is why not working.
    Now I know


  27. I tried several brands of iron for me and my daughter and I felt the heme one is easy to absorb and does not give me constipation. It is called preferring.

    JP( a thankful mother)

  28. I take 8 Chapatti daily and I must be o k according to the picture you presented .
    I am vegetarian and can not afford water melon.


  29. I take my iron pills ,any brand and feel energetic and I have no reaction to any of them.


  30. You making me understand what is anemia and why I feel tired


  31. I appreciate the diagram that gives us many options of iron rich foods as I do not like pills.


  32. This is an easy to understand summary of anemia and how to manage.excellent post


  33. So I will continue enjoying 2 servings of meat and 8 of water meoln and I do not need iron pills.


  34. Even I am fully recovered and eating normally now and did very well at my school but according my last blood test I am still in need of my viatamin b12,D and iron!!!
    I am o k to take all of them even when I am eating well as now I care too much about my health and trying catch up for long years ignoring my health.


  35. Since my recovery I made a strong commitment not only making sure eating my meals but also taking my supplement and seeing my supportive therapist.

    Recovered ED survivor


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