A couple of years ago, I was feeling super low and groggy. I didn’t understand what was going on with me but I knew that I wasn’t myself. I am usually a bubbly go-getter but every morning I woke up not wanting to do shit. I was sleeping more than usual and I just felt off. I decided to go to the doctor to see what was up. They ran tons of tests and my blood work came back showing that I had very low Iron levels.
As someone who considers herself to live a normal lifestyle nothing too extreme on either spectrum of healthy or not healthy, I never thought about Iron as a factor for my health. I had only heard information about Iron in biology/science class when it was time to learn the entire periodic table or when folks talked about being anemic. I was never diagnosed with anemia so I was very confused. Come to find out people can have an Iron deficiency and not have anemia and it is important to know if you have one because it can cause:
- Affect your attention span and our alertness
- Affect your learning ability
- Decrease in appetite
There are many causes for low iron, with the main one being an inadequate iron intake due to your diet. If you are eating the same plants all the time and not getting enough meat or if you have a low-calorie intake that does not match up to what you need. Another huge cause is inadequate iron absorption, which basically means your body is not absorbing the iron you are taking in because of a malabsorptive disease like celiac or an excess of intake of calcium which reduces iron intake. Excessive menstrual bleeding and other internal bleeding disorders can also result in iron intake, including parasites and ulcers. Athletes are also at risk for iron depletion and I found out on Twitter that a number of Kenyans suffer from this as well. I am Kenyan so it only made sense.
So, if you feel as though you might have low iron due to poor work productivity, lack of attention and memory, poor skin/nails/hair, or a sore tongue see a doctor as soon as possible. Doctors will suggest the following:
- Iron supplements: Your doctor will let you know the proper dosage according to your levels. This method is cheap and efficient as long as you remember to take your supplements consistently and at its proper dosage!
- Iron-rich nutrition: Including more meat, fish, poultry, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, soybeans, tofu, potatoes, and citric fruits to your diet. Also, try eating fortified grain products like cereals and bread. Eliminate coffee and intake during meals because these drinks can decrease iron absorption.
We hope this helps get you out of your funk, especially if it’s due to low iron. Get your levels up and live your best life.