Iron deficiency anemia (IDA)—low iron in the blood—is common. About three million people have it in North America. It could lead to serious health problems… Like a compromised immune system and heart failure.1 The problem is, you may never see it coming… So it’s not surprising IDA winds up being the primary cause of almost 400,000 hospital visits a year.2
There are some obvious signs you probably already know—like fatigue, pale skin, and headaches. But here are 5 strange signs your body needs more iron.
1. You’re prone to chills: In one study, ten iron-deficient anemic women sat in a bath of 84.2° F water. After 100 minutes, they had lower temperatures than the women in the control group.31 That’s because IDA decreases thyroid function. This makes it harder for you to produce heat. It also decreases blood flow. So it’ll be easier to lose the heat you do have.4
2. You can’t sit still: If you have restless leg syndrome (RLS), it may be a sign that you don’t have enough iron in your brain. It’s a condition that causes unpleasant crawling or tugging sensations in your legs.5 This makes it hard to keep them still.
Some studies have found that low dopamine levels may also cause RLS… But one study found oral iron supplementation helped relieve RLS symptoms in people with low iron. And it worked just as well as a dangerous dopamine-increasing drug.6
3. Your bathroom visits aren’t normal: This one may clue you in on the reason why you’re iron deficient… You could be bleeding from somewhere in your digestive system. It could be your stomach or small intestine.7 Depending on how much blood you’re losing, the color of your stools can range from reddish to black. It may be runny or sticky. But don’t be alarmed if they only turn black after eating foods like blueberries or black licorice. In these cases, it’s probably just the food.8
4. Your tongue is puffy: Have you ever looked in the mirror at your tongue and seen indents from your teeth all around it? Or has it ever been sore for no apparent reason? Low iron could be to blame. It can also give your tongue a smooth appearance. That’s because your taste buds shrink without enough iron.9 These symptoms could make talking difficult. They may also make the foods you eat taste bland.
5. You’re prone to infections: Getting frequent infections may mean you have low levels of hemoglobin. This is the iron-containing substance in your red blood cells. It transports oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. One study found that children with low hemoglobin levels had more ear infections per year than children with normal levels. Adding an iron supplement was enough to greatly decrease recurrences.10
If you’re low on iron, you may not be getting enough from your diet. Or you may not be absorbing it from the foods you do eat. The best solution is to add iron-rich foods like dark, leafy greens, clams, and lentils. You should also include a good source of vitamin C to boost absorption. Broccoli and red bell peppers are great choices. They have more vitamin C than oranges.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch
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