Why you’re low in iron, even when you’re eating spinach!


By , On , In General, Nutrition

Iron is one of the most common mineral deficiencies seen in North America.  It is a concern because fatigue and hair loss are some of the most common symptoms associated.

It’s especially common in women with monthly menses that deplete blood iron.  I believe some other reasons iron is often so low is from a lack of sources in our diet, poor absorption, and the depletion of iron through infections like bacteria.

We can increase our absorption of iron by:

  1.  Vitamin C – improves absorption in the small intestine
  2. Vitamin A – increases iron storage in the liver
  3. B 12, Folic Acid – also needed for red blood cell formation
  4. Animal iron (heme) increases absorption of non-heme (vegetable) types
  5. Amino acids – because protein carries iron from the small intestine into the blood

Iron absorption is decreased through:

  1.    tea, coffee
  2.    oxalates – in uncooked spinach, rhubarb
  3.    phytates  – in uncooked grains
  4.    carbonated drinks
  5.    phosphates – in pop, processed foods

Good foods sources include:

  1.    seaweeds, algae
  2.    molasses
  3.    dark leafy greens – collards, kale, chards
  4.    eggs
  5.    lean red meats
  6.    kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans

If supplementation is required try to find an iron that is in a chelate or glycinate as these forms often pose less of a risk of constipation.  Liquids can also be a better option for absorption.

Don’t forget supplementation of iron shouldn’t be taken with other minerals like Calcium or Zinc, as they can reduce Iron’s absorption as well.

 xc Dr. Alana