June 27, 2011

Humans have long had issues with maintaining adequate nutrient sufficiency. In the distant past it was due to limited nutrient access. Now it is secondary to poor choices, monotonic diets and gut dysfunction.

In this issue we will concentrate on iron as a major nutrient deficiency in children and adults.

In the past 2 years we have seen an explosion in symptoms related to iron insufficiency. These symptoms are as follows:

Fatigue, pale color, irritability, immune dysfunction, poor sleep, poor concentration/ADHD, restless leg syndrome, weakness, ice craving and hair loss.

Critical times where iron needs are high: pregnancy, infancy and patients with chronic blood loss.

The major reason for the explosion in insufficiency is primarily poor nutrition and poor absorption. People are eating less iron in their daily diet. Food sensitivities are on the rise and they cause gut dysfunction with subsequent poor nutrient absorption. The poster child is celiac disease which is an intolerance to gluten proteins. Others maybe be irritated by milk, soy and so on. We will tackle these sensitivities in an upcoming issue. Look at letter #21, April 25, 2011 for details on celiac disease.

Sources of heme iron include beef(use grass fed and hormone free) and shellfish. Heme iron is very well absorbed. Beans, greens, fortified dry cereals, molasses and other vegetarian based sources of non-heme iron are 30% less well absorbed than heme sources.

Adding vitamin C to your diet when you eat non-heme iron enhances absorption. Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruit, peppers, broccoli, vegetable juices and many others.

Check out the link here for more iron info!

If you want to test your iron status, the best test is a ferritin analysis. This test gives you a snapshot of your iron stores.

My take home point today: Increase your dietary sources of iron and feel better.

Live well,

Dr. Magryta