Iron is the second most important mineral in the body, calcium being number one. Iron, like calcium and protein, is difficult to digest and assimilate. Even if your digestive system is working at optimum levels, and digestive juices lower as we grow older and if you’re not in good health, you’ll only be able to assimilate about ten percent of the iron in the food you eat. If you have digestive problems like gas, indigestion and bloating, you probably aren’t getting sufficient iron because of low levels of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid).
Most people think of anemia when an iron deficiency is mentioned. The majority of issues that occur from anemia are caused before any diagnostic test or procedures show a problem. The medical dictionary defines anemia as a reduction of red blood cells (RBC), or the ability of the RBC’s to carry oxygen. See my article "Depression And The RBC Hemoglobin Ring" for more information on red blood cells. Since RBC’s carry oxygen to every cell in the body, anemia could be described as a lack of cellular oxygen levels. Anemia is similar to respiratory disorders in that you can’t get sufficient oxygen.
One form of anemia is caused by the inability to assimilate sufficient amounts of iron. An anemia that is of this type will produce blood that does not have a good red color, because of the lack of RBC’s.
Another type of anemia is caused by excess bleeding and the body can’t produce sufficient RBC’s. This type is much easier to diagnose than the other .
If you’re starving for oxygen at the cellular level, your heart has to pump faster to make up the deficit. If your heart beats rapidly when standing from a sitting or prone position, you could be low on iron. Another cause of those symptoms is hypoadrenia, low adrenal function. Many people who are on medication for rapid heart beat may be suffering from low iron. If you have dark circles under your eyes, the cause may be excess build up of toxins and/or lack of oxygen to the cells due to anemia.
The first, and easiest place to look for iron deficiency problems, is at the finger nails. In Oriental medicine, longitudinal lines, lines that run from the base of the fingernail to the end, are signs of a malabsorption problem, possibly an iron deficiency.
If you choose to take an iron supplement, read the label. I looked at various supplements when shopping last week and every one had lots of additives, including food coloring, preservatives and a couple that I’d never heard of before. My question is, "Why do you need food coloring in any supplement?" Whole foods are a better way to go if the condition hasn’t gone too far.
Red cabbage, parsley, beets, alfalfa, watercress, wheat grass, spinach, tomato juice, cucumbers, black strap molasses, fish, eggs, black cherry juice, blackberries and blackberry juice are all high in iron.
Coffee, tea and anything containing caffeine, including sodas, interfere with iron assimilation. Eating eggs or taking vitamin E at the same times as an iron supplement will also reduce the uptake and assimilation of the iron in the supplement.