Tired? Tired? Tired? You may be Iron Deficient!
Why do so many of us constantly feel tired or fatigued? Perhaps we are one of many suffering from iron deficiency – the single most prevalent nutrient deficiency worldwide. In fact, iron deficiency is the leading cause of fatigue among women between the time of menstruation and menopause (it is estimated that up to 26% of reproductive aged women are iron deficient). Adolescents and women of childbearing age need to regularly replace the iron that is eliminated through monthly blood loss. Demand during pregnancyalso increases as iron is needed for proper placenta development and prevention of pre-term and low birth weight babies. In children and teenagers, a lack of iron is common due to poor eating habits, stress and growth spurts, and could influence behavior, learning ability and overall health. Endurance athletes and those who exercise regularly lose iron through sweat and the digestive tract, putting them at risk for deficiency and decreased stamina.
Iron is an essential element for the body. It combines with copper and protein to make hemoglobin, a major component of red blood cells which transports oxygen from the lungs to all the tissues of the body. Iron is also needed throughout the body for adenosine triphosphate production (ATP). ATP is required for cellular energy and proper cell function. When iron is low, ATP production drops and energy levels decrease as a result.