Are you exhausted and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning?
Do you ever feel nauseated or light-headed after waking up or getting up out of a chair?
Have you ever felt like you have “altitude” sickness at sea level?
Do you ever find yourself out-of-breath when climbing stairs even though you exercise daily?
Does your healthcare provider tell you that everything is testing out “okay?”
All of these symptoms can have their origins in iron deficiency anemia. Your body only absorbs 10-18% of the iron from foods and supplements? Why? Because we store iron in our body and too much iron can be harmful. We can lose iron due to internal bleeding or monthly menstrual cycles. However, poor digestion and absorption can be a leading cause of fatigue and exhaustion in many adults. Poor absorption combined with higher requirements can result in anemia. Iron does carry oxygen on our red blood cells and gives us energy. So why is iron deficiency not diagnosed more often? The labs used to identify iron deficiency need to be updated. Your iron stores (called “ferritin”) can get depleted long before traditional tests for anemia will show depletion. Typical “reference ranges” are too low for many individuals. An “iron studies panel” and “ferritin” can identify iron deficiency and also “iron overload.” You should be in the middle of the reference range. Talk to your healthcare provider and get tested at least once a year.