This week in the nutrition class I’m teaching we are covering the basics of the importance of iron metabolism and function in the body so I thought for this Wellness Wednesday I would share it with you all!
- Oxygen Transport (part of hemoglobin and myoglobin)
- Energy and Metabolism
- Immune System Function
Iron Status Indicators
Total Iron Binding Capacity or TIBC
Factors Affecting Iron Regulation
- Levels of iron n the body will determine the percentage absorbed. It is currently thought that we lack regulatory processes to excrete iron once absorbed, therefore the body the body regulates iron status by limiting absorption.
- Rare genetic conditions may under or over regulate iron levels in the body. Most common is hemochromatos is a condition in which iron absorption leads to toxic levels of iron in the blood. Regularly having your iron levels screened should be enough to detect this if you have it, you will also likely have a family history.
Type of Iron
- Heme Iron found in animal sources like red meat, liver, poultry, eggs, etc is 3x as adorable as those found in plant sources (about 30% will be absorbed).
- Non-heme iron found in vegetables, beans, and fruits is much less adorable, only about 10% of intake will be absorbed.
Enhances Iron Absorption:
- Animal Protein
- Vitamin C
- Stomach Acid
Decreases Iron Absorption
- phytates/oxlates (compound found in certain vegetables, beans and grains)
- tannins/polyphenol (tea, coffee and wine)
- other minerals such as calcium and zinc
Who is at risk of low iron levels?
- low calorie diets
- women (especially during pregnancy/lactation)
- children (especially with high milk consumption)
- GI disorders
- gastric bypass patients
- chronic antacid use
- chronic blood loss
- runners (damage to mini blood vessels in feet)
I’ve recently become aware that just about everyone in the population who is isn’t supplementing is at risk for low iron levels. We tend to lead an antacid popping, calorie restricting, meat demonizing, veggie shunning, fiber supplement slamming type of lifestyles. I know I’ve been there, that’s why I’ve been anemic in the past, no body is really immune so I’ve started making it part of the standard things we look at for Hungry Hobby RD clients. That being said, iron overload is just as serious if you supplement without supervision, so make sure you get advice from a trusted health professional. Like I said, I even discussed my results with another professional before starting a supplement regimen!
Foods Rich In Iron
If you are truly looking to increase (or decrease) intake of iron then these are the foods you need to amp up/avoid. As mentioned earlier, iron is also found in vegetables, beans, and some fruits but often is not significantly absorbable.
Meat and Eggs: Beef, lamb, ham, turkey (dark meat), chicken (dark meat), veal, pork, dried beef, liver, liverwurst, eggs
Seafood: shrimp, clams, scallops, oysters, tuna, sardines, haddock, mackeral
[Tweet “Iron Foods, Functions and Facts #WellnessWednesday via @hungryhobby”]
Other Women’s Health Related Posts:
- Recovering from 5 Years of Amenorrhea
- Post-Pill Amenorrhea Update (4 months later)
- Seed Cycling for Amenorrhea, PMS, or irregular periods
- How to Make Your Hormone Works for You (what to eat/how to train)
- Iron Foods, Functions, and Facts (related)
- My friend Ashley wrote an ebook called Fit & Fertile (affiliate link) about her experience with Amenorrhea as a Group Fitness Instructor and what she did to get pregnant naturally. Her experience was different t n mine, but similar in some ways as well. Either way, it was definitely a comforting read.