©DR. SARAH GLASSFORD 2019

Iron Deficiency & Supplements


When’s the last time you had your iron status checked? 🧐 Iron is important for energy, thyroid hormones, growth & development, cognition, mood, muscle function and immunity. Iron is needed to form hemoglobin in order to make red blood cells to oxygenate your body. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient disorder in North America and the requirement varies based on age and sex. ❗️There is an increased risk of iron deficiency in menstruating women, pregnancy, children, low stomach acid, poor diet, digestive conditions, vegans & vegetarians, parasitic infections and high intensity exercise. Some symptoms of deficiency include: • fatigue, weakness, dizziness • low tolerance to exericise, shortness of breath • headaches, irregular or fast heart beats • pale skin, brittle nails, hair loss, mouth sores Iron deficiency can be diagnosed based on low ferritin (the storage form of iron) in your bloodwork and is the leading cause of anemia. The acceptable lab ranges for ferritin can vary but optimizing that value for each person is important.📈 In a study involving tired women with ferritin less than 50 (lower but not deficient), iron supplementation improved energy. Ferritin is not the only marker that can be used, and always test don’t guess! Food Sources of Iron 🥩🍗🍤🥗 Animal sources provide heme iron, the most bioavailable (absorbable form) of iron • clams, oysters, animal liver, beef, poultry Plant sources contain non-heme iron which is significantly less bioavailable than heme iron. Some plant sources contain phytates or polyphenols which further decrease the absorption of iron while vitamin C increases absorption. Some of the higher plant sources include: • legumes (tofu, beans), nuts & seeds, leafy greens, molasses, prunes, potato Iron supplements are frequently used but most conventional supps contain a poorly absorbed form in a high dose often causing digestive issues, constipation and black stool💩. There are much better tolerated forms available!

Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about optimizing your iron and supplementing with a heme iron (animal source) or an iron bisglycinate (plant source)! These tend to be really well-tolerated forms to effectively raise your iron. 🙌 🤓


Sources: Hurrell, R., & Egli, I. (2010). Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 91(5), 1461S-1467S. The treatment of iron deficiency without anaemia (in otherwise healthy persons). (2017). Swiss Medical Weekly, 147(2324). Vaucher, P., Druais, P., Waldvogel, S., & Favrat, B. (2012). Effect of iron supplementation on fatigue in nonanemic menstruating women with low ferritin: a randomized controlled trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184(11), 1247-1254.