Fighting Fatigue and PMS with Iron
Low Iron: A Pain in the Neck
The female body has distinct needs. Iron is especially important. This vital element supports prenatal development and plays a huge role in healthy aging. It even affects your mood. When your iron levels run low, symptoms arise that make mundane, everyday situations exceedingly more difficult.
You’ll struggle to concentrate. You will feel exceedingly tired, irritable and weak. And perhaps worst of all, you’ll probably have to fight through pounding headaches. The daily stresses of work, money, traffic and children provide enough challenges. Low iron levels make these routine obstacles far more stressful and difficult.
Fortunately, you can make a few small lifestyle changes to bump your iron levels naturally. These changes can also help you stay fit in the long run, and according to one study, may even help decrease the occurrence of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
Absorbing Iron from Food
Whole foods should be your primary source of dietary iron. Meat and poultry (especially liver and dark meat) are loaded with iron, so let’s use that as our example:
- After eating a piece of chicken, your gastrointestinal (GI) tract absorbs its iron content.
- The iron is then released into the bloodstream where it is sent to your liver by a protein called transferrin.
- Stored in your liver as a different protein, your bone marrow then uses it to produce red blood cells.[3. http://www.hematology.org/patients/blood-disorders/anemia/5263.aspx]
Insufficient iron levels halt this process from the get-go. As a result, your body lacks its vital red blood cells. Your energy levels droop and your bodily systems suffer because oxygen struggles to reach your tissues. Without oxygen, you cannot function.
Allowing your iron to run low forces your body to struggle to provide energy for itself—an otherwise routine process.
Even though chronic fatigue and headaches can disrupt your daily life, your physician won’t check for it during your yearly checkup (if you still have one) unless you specifically mention a symptom that necessitates testing.
Causes of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is not solely a product of a diet void of iron. In fact, your body may struggle to absorb iron at all, which is common in patients with celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. Older adults who don’t consume enough calories will typically be low in iron as well.
For women, specifically, the most likely cause of iron deficiency is heavy menstruation.
Nearly all of these causes can be reversed through diet changes and intelligent supplementation. As stated before, meat and poultry offer significant amounts of iron, but so do leafy greens (kale, collards, broccoli, turnip greens, etc.) and legumes (lentils, peas and beans). However, many foods are so genetically modified and processed that they are essentially stripped of their natural nutrient content.
You’re left to search for iron elsewhere.
Taking Iron Supplements
Low iron is nothing to shrug off and ignore. Remember, iron factors into your energy levels, your ability to focus and even the quality of your skin, hair and nails. Your recommended daily allowance of iron is 18 mg. Supplementing at least half of that number is a great way to ensure you’re getting sufficient iron to your bloodstream (the rest should come from your food).
The benefits don’t end there, though. Maintaining adequate levels of iron through healthy diet and lifestyle can also reduce the effects—and the occurrence—of pre-menstrual syndrome.
A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst determined that women eating iron-rich diets were 30-40 percent less likely to suffer from PMS.[5. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130226101448.htm]
The study—one of the first to explore this link—evaluated 3,000 women over a 10-year period. Each of the women completed three “food frequency questionnaires,” the results of which were adjusted to account for the intake of calcium and other factors that could muddy test results.
When the results were evaluated, researchers deduced that 20 mg of daily iron—two milligrams more than the RDA—was associated with a lower risk of PMS.
In an interview with Science Daily, the study’s senior author Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson discussed the possible link. “Iron may be related to PMS because it is involved in producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood,” Bertone-Johnson explained.
The human body thrives when given all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it craves. Iron is one of these vital minerals. Women who monitor their iron levels are more likely to avoid headaches and bouts of chronic fatigue.
Diets high in iron have even been shown to reduce the occurrence of PMS.
Whole Food Supplements
Maximized Living has developed a 100-percent whole-food supplement designed specifically for women. The Women’s Multi offers food-grade minerals in the form of whole, unprocessed, spinach, kelp, watermelon, kiwi, green peas and more.
By using natural food sources (rather than processed, synthetic supplements) to provide more than half the RDA of iron in a single serving, Women’s Multi supports a healthy body without increasing risk of painful side effects like heartburn, nausea, constipation and diarrhea.
Additionally, low-grade iron supplements often contain inorganic sources of iron. These forms of iron are commonly found in processed foods and are “not much different than rust.” [6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/19/excess-iron-leads-to-alzheimers.aspx] The natural iron contained in whole foods represents a far safer, smarter choice.
Maximized Living’s Women’s Multi also contains a wealth of other vital nutrients, including:
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins
- Vitamins A, E, K
Our Women’s Multi contains no additives or preservatives. This 100-percent whole food supplement can benefit women of any age, background or state of health.
To learn more about this truly unique health supplement, contact your local Maximized Living wellness doctor today.