Iron deficiency in the body is exhausting. This blog is specifically to address both dietary and supplementary forms of iron that can help balance iron levels - as there's a lot of misinformation out there.
It's important to understand that high iron levels in a food or supplement do not necessarily mean it will increase your iron levels. Bioavailability - or how the body can absorb and process or use the iron is key. It's also important to consider side effects of supplementation like constipation, which can create a whole other series of issues.
Red meat is a great source of heme iron - the iron that is used by the body. Choosing meat sources grown without synthetic chemicals means less work for the body to access the nutrients.
There are some great plant sources of iron, but it's important to know how to prepare them to help your body.
Green leafy vegetables are often listed as a great source of iron - and they are, however, they need to be prepared properly for the body to be able to access and use the nutrients.
Soak or cook green leafy vegetables to reduce the phytic and oxalic acid that inhibits iron availability. Adding Vitamin C rich foods to the meal will improve the uptake of iron - like lemon juice for example.
It's also important to know that grains and legumes inhibit the uptake of iron, so best not to include these at the same meal as your green leafy vegetables.
With a significant or persistent iron deficiency from other illness or imbalance, supplementation can be necessary. Finding the right iron supplement that makes a difference can be tricky unless you know what you're looking for.
It's important to know that you don't need to take subscription iron supplements that will create an increase in iron on blood test results as well as a laxative to manage the significant constipation from the subscribed medication. It's exchanging one issue for another - and that's not balance.
I have no affiliation with these products, but have used and recommended these to many people with success.
Floradix by Floravital is herbal iron supplement with all the co factors to help absorption. It's easy to take, in a sweet liquid and there's also a children's version.
Spatone is another iron supplement that's well accessed by the body. It's not the greatest tasting product, so if that will stop you using it, probably best to try something else.
I've also been recommended Maltofer. I've not had direct experience with this, it's well worth considering as I've heard it's good and the constipation side effect is less than ferrous sulphate forms of supplementation.
While the purpose of this blog is to provide information on addressing iron deficiency, it's always best to understand the underlying cause of the deficiency to properly address the issue and encourage the body back to balance.