You are constantly feeling fatigued and everyday is a struggle. Fatigue is one of the more common symptoms of anaemia, which can be associated with iron deficiency.
This occurs when the balance of your iron intake, stored iron, and the body's loss of iron are not sufficient enough to fully support the production of red blood cells.1
There are a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Please see below for list of symptoms. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia and globally the leading nutritional disorder.1 It can be easily diagnosed and treated, however, it is frequently overlooked.1
Managing this condition properly will improve your quality of life by eliminating your symptoms and reducing your need for blood transfusion (in severe cases).2 Oral iron supplementation is currently the first choice of treatment for Iron Deficiency Anaemia, because of how effective it is.3
However, the most significant challenge with many iron supplements are the gastrointestinal side effects such as constipation, dark stools, bloating and nausea, etc. This is due to unabsorbed iron that remains in the stomach, irritating the stomach lining which results in injury.2
Knowing the process of iron metabolism, how iron goes from digestion to your blood stream, will help you understand why it is so important to choose an iron supplement with high absorption properties, not only for bioavailability (how much of the active iron is available for use), but also to reduce your risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia
If you are constantly suffering from chronic fatigue, poor memory, loss of mental focus or just not feeling like yourself, Iron Deficiency Anaemia could be the cause of these symptoms.
Signs and symptoms may include:1,4
- Extreme Fatigue
- Pale skin
- Poor mental performance
- Feeling of coldness in the hands and feet
- Shortness of breath during exercise
- Restless leg syndrome (very common in pregnant woman)
- Brittle nails
- Poor appetite
- Glossitis (inflammation or soreness of the tongue)
- Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
- Pica (unusual cravings to eat materials that is generally not part of the human diet - ice, dirt or starch)
1. Miller, J.L. Iron Deficiency anaemia: A Common and Curable Disease. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2013, 3:a011866:1-13.
2. Jimenez, K., Kulnigg-Dabsch, S., et al. Management of Iron Deficiency anaemia. Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2015, 11(4):241-250.
3. Johnson-Wimbley, T.D. and Graham, D.Y. Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anaemia in the 21st century. Ther Adv Gastroenterol 2011, 4(3):177-184
4. Iron deficiency anaemia. Mayo Clinic. Accessed on August 2018. Available on: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anaemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355034.