How did I become iron deficient?
The average person has 3,000-4,000mg of iron in the body. 1-2mg is lost and 1-2mg is absorbed and utilised daily. Every 1ml of blood contains 0.5mg of iron and excess blood loss is the key cause of iron deficiency. If iron deficiency is not treated it may lead to impaired quality of life, a reduced immune system and ultimately result in anaemia.
Women & iron deficiency
1 in 3 women in Singapore suffer from iron deficiency
Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB) is the leading cause of iron deficiency putting women at increased risk. You may suffer from HMB if two or more of the following apply:
- Passing of large blood clots
- Need for double sanitary protection
(both towels and tampons)
- Need for frequent changes of tampons & towels
(every 2 hours or less, or 12 items per cycle)
- Flooding through to clothes or bedding
Iron deficiency & hairloss
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional cause of hair loss.
Iron is an essential element of hair growth. Usually hair loss is one of the first symptoms of iron deficiency and is associated with Serum Ferritin levels falling below <70ng/ml
Why hair is affected?
Hair follicle matrix cells are some of the most rapidly growing cells in the body and iron is essential for its functioning
Iron deficiency & fatigue
Fatigue (mental and/or physical) is a permanent sense of feeling worn out.
Iron is essential for formation of Red Blood Cells. Iron deficiency may reduce the body's oxygen delivery capacity which results in a state of fatigue. Fatigue is associated with Serum Ferritin levels falling below <50ng/ml
What about exercise?
Muscle (myoglobin) also require iron for all aerobic activities, depletion of iron may impair the body's function to utilise oxygen to create energy.
Having iron deficiency can affect your short-term memory and our ability to concentrate, also called brain fog.
Iron deficiency & pregnancy
During pregnancy, approximately 1000mg of iron is needed. Iron is essential for the neurological cognitive and physical development of the foetus.
During pregnancy the iron requirements increase significantly. Unfortunately diet alone cannot always support the increased iron demands during pregnancy. Additionally, oral iron supplements are often poorly tolerated or not effective.