(NaturalNews) Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States and women are among those at greatest risk. Iron is critical for producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. Without adequate iron, every system of the body suffers. Boost your iron levels with good nutrition and proper supplementation.
It is estimated that 9 percent of women and 2 percent of men have iron deficient anemia.(1) This is thought to be due to the menstruation process where woman bleeds during her ovulatory period. The loss of blood can range from a mild to severe loss and can lead to an anemic state.
Testing your iron levels
Checking for iron levels is done through a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. The test measures the carrier molecule of iron; a protein found inside cells called ferritin, which stores the iron.
If your ferritin levels are low, it means your iron levels are also low. The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20, you are iron deficient, and above 80, you have an iron surplus.
Ferritin levels can go really high. Levels can go over 1,000, but anything over 80 is likely going to be a problem. Anything under 20 is extremely concerning and indicative of anemia as well. The ideal range is 40-60 ng/ml. It is also important to make sure your iron levels do not get too high as it increases your risk of heart disease in men.
Best ways to increase iron levels
One could increase iron by consuming more iron in their diet and/or supplementing with a bioavailable iron source. Often times, individuals have leaky gut syndrome that is hampering their ability to effectively absorb iron. This makes iron supplementation more necessary.
Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is formed when iron combines with protoporphyrin IX. This form is about 10 to 15 percent of total iron intake in Western populations. Plants contain non-heme iron only while animal foods contain both heme and non-heme iron.
From a dietary perspective, following the nutrition plan that is loaded with clean animal products from grass-fed/pasture-raised sources and lots of leafy green and cruciferous vegetables should provide ample amounts of iron.
If someone's iron is low despite this sort of nutrition plan, than we suspect extreme leaky gut syndrome and possibly an auto-immune condition in their body. Under these circumstances it is important to supplement with a bioavailable form of iron for a period of time.
There are two general types of iron supplements which contain either the ferrous or ferric form of iron. Ferrous iron is the best absorbed form of iron supplements. Most available iron pills contain ferrous iron.
There are three types of ferrous iron supplements commonly found: ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate. All three are good forms of iron. Be careful to avoid cheap forms of iron and iron shavings. Certain co-factors such as vitamin C and betaine HCL help maximize iron absorption in the body.
This anti-oxidant protects against the oxidation of the ferrous compound in the body, which is necessary for optimal absorption and hemoglobin synthesis.(2) Without anti-oxidant protection, the body oxidizes much of the supplemental iron and produces toxic byproducts that are linked to chronic disease development.
Many individuals with iron deficiency anemia have low hydrocholoric acid production in their stomach. This is related to the leaky gut syndrome that is often present and the low stomach acid is one of the major factors behind the iron deficiency. Supplementing with Betaine HCL helps optimize iron absorption.(3)
3) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM196809262791302 About the author: Dr David Jockers is a Maximized Living doctor and owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia where he specializes in functional nutrition, functional medicine and corrective chiropractic care to get to the underlying cause of major health problems.
His website features great articles on natural health and incredible recipes. He is the author of the best-selling book SuperCharge Your Brain - the complete guide to radically improve your mood, memory and mindset. He has over 50,000 active followers on his social media and email newsletter and is a big influencer in the Primal Health movement.
Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance consultations and health coaching to help you beat disease and reach your health goals. For more information got to www.drjockers.com