A lack of iron causes fatigue
Fatigue, dizziness, paleness of the face: all of these symptoms can indicate iron deficiency. If you have too little of this trace element in your body, you should change your diet. But be careful: too much iron can also be unhealthy.
Iron deficiency has significant health effects Chronic fatigue, impaired performance, dizziness, difficulty concentrating or pallor in the face: An iron deficiency often first manifests itself in unspecific complaints. A lack of this trace element can have a significant impact on health. The reasons for this can be "about the diet, insufficient iron absorption in the body or excessive blood loss". Many sufferers get a grip on the problem with home remedies for iron deficiency, such as a change in diet.
Popeye - the strong spinach-eating sailor This refers to Popeye, the sailor who gains superhuman strength through spinach. The cartoon character has certainly contributed to the fact that many children knew from childhood that spinach strengthens the muscles. The trace element iron plays an important role in human health. So it can be read that the organism is required for the transport of oxygen, for various metabolic processes, for the energy supply to the cells and for a powerful immune system. Iron is a component of various enzymes, including one that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. This neurotransmitter is important in connection with attention, sleep, learning, motor activity, behavior and mood. If there is an iron deficiency, less dopamine is produced. "If the body lacks iron, there can be numerous symptoms for those affected". In addition to the symptoms described above, some patients also experience torn corners of the mouth, brittle toenails and fingernails, dull hair or hair loss, sensitivity to cold or depressive moods.
Diet of vegetarians and vegans "Around 30 to 50 percent of all menstruating women have an iron deficiency due to regular blood loss," explained biochemist and medic Peter Nielsen, head of the iron metabolism clinic at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, to "Spiegel Online". Many children and adolescents between one and a half and three years old and between 12 and 14 years old also had a growth-related iron deficiency. In people with obesity, the enlarged fat tissue in the abdomen can cause more inflammatory substances to be released and the body consequently absorbs less iron. According to the article, endurance athletes, the elderly, people with high blood loss due to injuries or chronic gastrointestinal inflammation, as well as vegetarians and vegans are at increased risk of iron deficiency. This has to do with the fact that runners often eat little meat in order to save animal fats and that seniors sometimes eat poorly. A meat-free diet lacks the iron it contains. “Vegetarians and vegans should put their diets together very carefully and intelligently. Then there is no need for iron deficiency, ”says Nielsen. However, studies in recent years have repeatedly found that a corresponding risk for vegetarians is much lower than often stated. In addition to an adapted diet, you can counter iron deficiency with the means of nature. For example, plant preparations with bitter substances, such as Swedish herbs, can help.
Too much iron is also unhealthy Not only too little, but also too much iron in the body is unhealthy. An increased iron level can manifest itself, among other things, through fatigue, irritability, joint pain, impotence or no menstrual period, liver damage, diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia and a metallic-gray skin color. "Around one in 300 people in Germany suffer from the most common cause of iron overload, hereditary hemochromatosis, an inherited iron storage disease," explained Nielsen. The absorption of iron from food is usually reduced by the body's own protective mechanisms, since excess iron can lead to oxidative stress in the cells. “But don't worry, the cells have antioxidative protection systems when the iron levels are slightly increased. The cells are only damaged if the iron levels are higher, ”says Nielsen. In addition, the liver forms a hormone that reduces iron absorption. However, this mechanism is genetically absent in people with iron storage disease.
Too much meat can cause discomfort. As a result, too much iron is absorbed from the diet and initially deposited primarily in the liver, later also in other organs such as the pancreas and in the joints. As a result, rheumatoid-like joint problems occur and the sugar metabolism is increasingly disrupted. "Fortunately, only relatively few of the people affected by hemochromatosis get really sick," says Nielsen. The complaints usually appear between the ages of 40 and 50. "But sometimes young people already have pronounced symptoms, especially if they eat a lot of meat." As a treatment, it can be a bloodletting that stimulates the blood replication that consumes iron. The patient is relieved by about 500 ml of blood every one to two weeks for up to one and a half years - even as part of a blood donation - to normalize the iron levels. Maintenance therapy then begins, i.e. three to four bloodletting per year, in order to keep iron levels low. Nielsen concluded: “Recently, many overweight people have come to us with suspected hemochromatosis because of their increased iron levels. Many of these people have simply ingested far too much iron due to the large, mostly meat-rich food quantities, and apparently liver restriction means that they no longer work properly. But they do not have hemochromatosis. "(Ad)