Lack of iron is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide
Common causes include:
low absorption of iron
vegan and vegetarian diet
heavy periods (for women)
If your need for dietary iron isn’t met, your body’s iron stores will become depleted. This can lead to iron deficiency and, if severely depleted, anaemia
Symptoms to look out for
This is not a comprehensive list and it’s important you discuss your symptoms with your doctor or pharmacist before undertaking iron treatment.
You may lack energy
Your skin may be pale
You may be unable to do very physical tasks
Shortness of breath
You might find it hard to concentrate and find learning difficult
Coldness in your hands and feet
How do I know I’m iron deficient for sure?
The only definitive way to find out is to have a blood test and you’ll need to see your doctor to see if this is the right course of action.
Who is most at risk?
Vegans & Vegetarians
Women need more iron because of blood loss during their periods. They also need more than double the usual intake of iron during pregnancy.
Adolescents need extra nutrients to fuel growth spurts, but they are also more likely to have a poor diet.
Iron is lost through excessive sweating and some athletes (particularly those for whom weight is an issue) may have unbalanced diets.
Iron in plant foods is not as easily absorbed as iron found in meat. If you are vegetarian or vegan it is more likely that you will not be getting enough iron.