Recognizing Iron Deficiency


Iron is a necessity to the human body. Its main function is to create red blood cells which carry oxygen to the blood. A lack of sufficient iron in the body is known as anemia. A lack of oxygen can cause serious health issues, and should be taken care of immediately. There are a number of signs you may display if you have an iron deficiency. 

Frequent Illness

If you have found yourself getting sick on a regular basis, more specifically with respiratory infections, you could very well be suffering from a lack of iron as it wears down your immune system. 


Due to the lack of oxygen flowing to your vital organs, fatigue is extremely common in individuals with iron deficiency. 

Difficulty Exercising

Lack of iron can adversely affect your daily workouts due to the insufficient amount of healthy red blood cells carrying oxygen to your blood. Anemia can leave you feeling breathless, which can very well shorten your cardio workouts. Your muscles can also become severely sore after workouts, with a longer recovery time than normal. 

Feelings of Depression

Iron deficiency can leave you feeling down in the dumps. You may become apathetic to activities you were once interested in. The fatigue mentioned above is a large part of feeling depressed as well. Often times, neurotransmitter synthesis is altered, causing you to feel unfocused and easily distracted. 

Changes in nails, skin, and urine

There are a few physical symptoms that come from iron deficiency. These include brittle nails, or nails that are thin and break easily. Your skin may become unusually pale, or may appear “washed-out,” as you are severely lacking red blood cells. A scarier symptom is the change of color in your urine, which might appear pink or red. 

It is important to consult a physician if you are displaying these kinds of symptoms. They may consult you to begin taking iron pills, or changing your diet to include more iron. Some foods that are high in iron are shrimp, pork, beef, liver, broccoli, spinach, eggs, watermelon, and apricots to name a few.

The daily recommended amount of iron for women is 8 to 18 mg, and for men 8-11 mg. Iron deficiency anemia can be very serious and could severely affect your quality of life, so it is important that you recognize the symptoms and take action to raise your iron levels to a normal amount.

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