Iron deficiency – symptoms, balanced diet, and supplements

Malaise, fatigue, pale skin, respiratory problems, and anemia are all conditions that may have a common cause – iron deficiency. It is an extremely important element that should be provided to the body in a balanced diet. What is the cause of an iron deficiency? What is worth eating, what is iron in? And how to quickly replenish iron in the body?


Iron belongs to the group of micronutrients that are of fundamental importance for the proper functioning of our body. This element supports many important metabolic processes, including oxygen transport and DNA synthesis. Iron also supports the work of muscles; including the most important thing – the heart. In addition, it supports the body’s immunity in the fight against microorganisms, and helps to reduce the feeling of weariness and fatigue. Hence, the situation in which the body suffers from iron deficiency cannot be ignored .

Iron deficiency is a problem that can be caused by a variety of causes. These include:

  • blood loss – resulting, for example, from bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, respiratory system, trauma and surgery, or heavy menstruation in women;
  • increased demand – here the cause may be puberty, pregnancy or breastfeeding; 
  • impaired absorption from the gastrointestinal tract – celiac disease, H. pylori gastritis, autoimmune gastritis, diet with insufficient protein, frequent diarrhea;
  • improperly balanced diet – strict slimming diets, improperly composed vegetarian or vegan diet.

When iron is low, your body will not send a signal right away. Over time, characteristic symptoms will appear, such as:

  • dizziness and headaches,
  • accelerated heartbeat
  • fatigue,
  • pale skin,
  • shortness of breath
  • poor appetite or its complete lack,
  • greater than usual nail breakage.

Iron deficiency – what to do? If you have any disturbing symptoms, do a blood count. Pay attention to the level of iron, hemoglobin, and hematocrit in the test. Below normal results may indicate anemia associated with an insufficient amount of this element.

What has a lot of iron?

To avoid iron deficiency, it is worth having a properly composed diet. Iron is an ingredient of many products that we eat every day. Most of this element is found in red meat – beef, veal or lamb. It is also worth reaching for processed meat – cold cuts, good-quality pates or black pudding. Iron is also found in offal such as pork, beef, or poultry liver. Iron is also an ingredient in fish – especially sardines, herring, smoked cod, and smoked mackerel.

What for people who don’t like meat or don’t eat meat at all? They should include chard, broad beans, beets, peas, dill, spinach, and parsley in their diet. Iron is also found in fruits, especially wild strawberries, black currants, and raspberries. Worth remembering! Merely consuming iron-rich foods may not be enough. It is important that this element is well absorbed from the digestive system. Drinking coffee or tea too often does not help here. This can block iron absorption. A diet low in protein and high in oxalate, phosphate and phytate is also disadvantageous.

How to quickly replenish iron in the body?

An iron-rich diet can be supported by supplements.

Before taking iron supplements, however, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor. Correct dosage is very important. While iron cannot overdose from the diet, it can overdose on supplements. Stomach problems – constipation – can be the result.

Iron supplements interact with other medications. If you are taking them, it is imperative to consult a specialist before supplementing with iron!