The High and the Low of it
Iron, another important subject in our Nutrition Education segment and one very close and personal to myself, cue quick story. At the age of 2 years, I stopped eating COMPLETELY and would only consume milk. As you’d expect, my parents became quite concerned and took me to see a doctor but were sent away and told that all the nutrients and vitamins I needed would be in the milk and that I’d eventually come to. This was not the case and I began falling asleep in a standing position and my hair started to lose the bright red colour (not the worst thing to happen to me) and it started turning grey!! Turns out I had no Iron and 0.5 haemoglobin (not healthy) which was scary back then, but I turned out fine …. enough.
Throughout this chapter we’ll discuss what high Iron levels and low Iron levels can do to the body and also look at foods that are a rich source of Iron.
High levels of Iron is known as hemochromatosis and going by my previous paragraph it’d be easy to assume that higher levels of iron would be ideal but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Hemochromatosis is a condition where the body absorbs too much iron from the food that it’s digesting and ends up getting stored in the liver, heart and pancreas. High iron levels are generally hereditary and as most of the iron is carried around in the red blood cells, treatment usually consists of removing blood from the body on a regular basis. Some common signs and symptoms of hemochromatosis are:
Sore Joints Weakness Fatigue and the longer it goes untreated:
Lack of sex drive Organ failure and Impotence
So as you can see, definitely something that we’d like to try and avoid if possible but can be monitored.
As you read in the award winning novel above, low iron levels don’t promote high levels of energy. If you have low iron levels, you may feel weak, fatigued and simply have no drive. We found this interesting, as you can see above, some of the same symptoms of high iron levels also mimic the same for low levels so if you’re concerned about having high or low iron levels, always go straight to the doctor’s office for a blood test to confirm one way or another.
Foods rich in iron are listed below:
Beans and Lentils Baked Potatoes Cashews Fortified Breakfast Cereals Whole Grain Bread and Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
As it’s not within our scope of practice we can’t inform you on how to treat high or low iron but we advise you go and see a doctor at your first sign of concern to get a blood test, receive an answer, potentially a solution if not a referral to someone that can help you.
Hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to ask us any questions that arise from this topic.
Justin Beard Pn1