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Trouble getting your iron levels within range?

Whole Naturopathy / Nutrition  / Trouble getting your iron levels within range?
Iron levels

Trouble getting your iron levels within range?

With some iron supplements people are left choosing between being exhausted or being constipated, neither of which are good for your health. Others opt for regular iron infusions, and whilst these can be great when your levels are very low, for most people, there are other ways to increase absorption of the important nutrient.

The role of Iron

Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to tissues and organs. Oxygen is required for the functioning of all cells, and a lack of supply to muscles and cells can result in feelings of fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

What causes low iron?

Iron deficiency occurs either through inadequate intake, or excessive blood loss. As a result, the body struggles to make hemoglobin and other important enzymes that help carry oxygen. The body tries to compensate by absorbing more iron from the diet and reusing what it has, but if not treated, iron deficiency can worsen and lead to anemia, affecting overall health and well-being.

Symptoms of deficiency

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Pale skin and nail beds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Heart palpitations

Keep in mind that these symptoms can vary in severity and may not always indicate iron deficiency, as there can be a number of different reasons for these symptoms.

If you eat meat, you will likely absorb enough iron from your diet and low iron is likely due to blood loss. If you’re not a menstruating female and haven’t had a recent accident or surgery, the cause of internal bleeding needs to be investigated further. If the cause is from you menstrual, herbal medicines and homeopathy can be really useful in treating the cause. This can be done by regulating hormone levels and reducing excessive blood loss.

Food sources

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Organic liver
  • Poultry
  • Fish (especially tuna, salmon)
  • Beans and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Tofu
  • Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
  • Spinach and other leafy greens
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Dried apricots
  • Dark chocolate

It’s important to note that iron comes in two forms: heme iron (found in animal products) and non-heme iron (found in plant-based foods). Heme iron is generally better absorbed by the body, but combining non-heme iron sources with vitamin C-rich foods can enhance absorption. So if you are a vegan or vegetarian you could do this by eating tomato or capsicum together with spinach.


Firstly, you want to use a gentle form of iron such as iron bisglycinate rather than ferrous sulfate which nearly always causes constipation. Secondly, recent research has shown that lactic acid bacteria, particularly lactobacilli, are able to enhance dietary iron absorption. The specific strain of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v alters the bacteria in the intestine at the duodenum where iron is absorbed and therefore increasing the intake. Along with the results from the research, I have seen much better results from the combination of a quality supplement when used together with the specific probiotic.

If you need products to increase your iron, or further help, please contact us.


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