Why Are Iron Levels So Important for Women's Health?

As a woman, you would have had your iron levels tested at each routine blood test. But often, GPs fail to really deep dive into how important iron is for our health, and what is a normal iron level for a woman. Whether you’re trying to conceive, already pregnant, on your postpartum journey, it is critical that you understand iron's impact on your energy levels and cognitive function. 

The Foundation of Vitality

Iron plays a pivotal role in the body's functioning, primarily as a component of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. This oxygenation process is essential for energy production, with every cell relying on a steady oxygen supply to function optimally. Thus, maintaining normal iron levels is paramount for sustained energy levels and overall vitality.

Optimal levels are:
Haemoglobin: Above 135
Iron: 11-12
Ferritin: Above 50

Combatting Fatigue and Lethargy

One of the most noticeable symptoms of iron deficiency is fatigue. When iron levels are insufficient, the body struggles to produce an adequate amount of healthy red blood cells, leading to reduced oxygen delivery to tissues. As a result, women with low iron levels may experience persistent tiredness, weakness, and lethargy, impacting their day-to-day activities and overall quality of life.
If you’re pregnant (or have a tiny human who’s not the best sleeper), then chances are you’re already feeling tired! Get those bloods tested to see what’s ‘normal’ and not so normal for you.

Supporting Cognitive Function

Hello, Mum Brain! Beyond its role in energy metabolism, iron is also crucial for cognitive function. The brain requires oxygen to perform its myriad functions effectively. Insufficient oxygenation due to low iron levels can impair cognitive processes, leading to difficulties in concentration, memory issues, and even mood disturbances. Thus, maintaining optimal iron levels is vital for sustaining mental clarity and emotional well-being.

Iron and Women's Health

For women, the importance of iron is further magnified due to physiological factors such as menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth. Menstruation, in particular, leads to regular blood loss, resulting in an increased demand for iron to replenish lost stores. Additionally, pregnancy places greater demands on iron levels to support your growing baby and the expanded blood volume required during gestation.

The Risk of Iron Deficiency

Despite its critical role, iron deficiency remains one of the most common nutritional deficiencies globally, affecting millions of women worldwide. Factors such as inadequate dietary intake, poor absorption, blood loss through menstruation or childbirth, and certain medical conditions can contribute to iron deficiency. Left unaddressed, iron deficiency can progress to iron deficiency anaemia, a condition characterised by low levels of haemoglobin in the blood, leading to severe fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and other complications.

Maintaining Optimal Iron Levels

Fortunately, maintaining optimal iron levels is achievable with mindful lifestyle choices and, when necessary, supplementation. A balanced diet rich in iron-containing foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, and fortified cereals can help prevent iron deficiency. Additionally, pairing iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C can enhance iron absorption.

Supplementation may be recommended for individuals at risk of iron deficiency or those unable to meet their iron needs through diet alone. As Mums, we know how hard it is to keep a meal down during that first trimester, but this is where IronBiotic comes in handy!

However, iron supplementation isn’t for everyone so we stress the importance of getting your blood tested and knowing your levels prior to supplementation, plus what level you should be aiming for.

By understanding the importance of maintaining optimal iron levels and taking proactive steps to support iron status through diet, supplementation, and regular health monitoring, women can safeguard their vitality and lead healthier, more vibrant lives.

Remember, prioritising your iron intake is not just a choice for today but an investment in your long-term health and vitality.

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