Momentum in the Mountains 2024


Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms and Causes

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/15/2024

Iron Deficiency Symptoms and Causes: An In-depth Analysis

Iron deficiency symptoms and causes are complex, often misunderstood aspects of health. This condition can manifest in numerous ways - from physical changes like pale skin and brittle nails to behavioral signs such as restlessness.

Learn about the primary symptoms of iron deficiency and anemia, highlighting fatigue as a significant indicator.

The role that excessive menstruation plays in lowering iron levels will also be explored, along with the impact diet choices like veganism may have on developing anemia.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency and Anemia

Iron deficiency and anemia can have nuanced symptoms, so it is good to learn what they are so you can stay vigilant with your health.

Fatigue and Tiredness

Experiencing persistent fatigue despite obtaining sufficient rest? This could be indicative of iron deficiency, a condition that can significantly impact your energy levels.

Pale Skin and Brittle Nails

Observing a paler complexion and nails that are prone to breakage may also suggest a potential iron deficiency.

Restless Legs and PICA

Restless legs syndrome, characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, and PICA, a condition marked by the consumption of non-food items, are notable manifestations of potential health concerns. It is imperative to promptly address any indications of PICA or anemia, as they may signal an underlying iron deficiency or anemia, which require timely medical attention and intervention.

Causes of Low Iron Levels Leading to Anemia

Anemia, a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the body, is often caused by iron deficiency. Iron helps produce hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your blood.

Without enough iron, your body can't make enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which can lead to unwanted consequences.

Excessive Menstruation Causing Low Iron Levels

Heavy menstrual periods can significantly impact iron levels due to blood loss. Increasing consumption of iron-rich foods can help replenish iron levels and support overall health.

Impact of Chronic Inflammation on Iron Absorption

Let's discuss how chronic inflammation can affect your body's iron absorption. When sick or infected, inflammation prevents your body from using any of the available iron.

How Chronic Inflammation Messes with Absorption

Chronic inflammation complicates the absorption of iron in the body. Hepcidin, a liver protein, regulates iron absorption and storage, with its levels increasing during chronic inflammation.

Elevated hepcidin levels hinder the absorption of dietary iron and sequester stored iron, limiting its availability for use in the body.

This mechanism blocks dietary iron from entering the bloodstream, rendering stored iron inaccessible, even if it is plentiful.

During infections, the immune system restricts access to essential nutrients like iron to invading pathogens, which may lead to iron deficiency anemia over time.

Pathogens vs. Free Iron Availability

Your immune system is a pro at fighting off infections. One of its strategies is making essential nutrients, like iron, less accessible to invading pathogens. But here's the catch: this defense mechanism also messes with normal bodily processes that need those nutrients.

Studies have shown that our bodies limit access to freely circulating minerals, including iron, during infections. As a result, infections can bring about sustenance and iron deficiency anemia after some time.

Addressing the Root Cause of Inflammation to Boost Iron Levels

Just increasing iron intake may not be enough. Chronic inflammation can affect your body's ability to absorb and use this vital mineral effectively.

First, Tackle the Underlying Issues

Our bodies are complex systems. When chronic inflammation is wreaking havoc, it messes with nutrient absorption. So, if you're anemic and dealing with inflammation-causing conditions like autoimmune diseases or infections, focus on treating those first.

Studies show the immune system hoards iron to fight off pathogens during high inflammation. If inflammation persists, it can result in anemia symptoms. It's not only about upping your intake of iron-containing foods; reducing inflammation is essential, too.

Instead of relying solely on dietary sources, take a comprehensive approach to your health. Eat better, exercise, manage stress, and get specific medical treatments.

Fasting & Vitamin D: A Winning Combo for Iron Absorption?

Alongside conventional treatments, natural interventions can help improve nutrient absorption. One method is periodic fasting, which triggers autophagy, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Research suggests that intermittent fasting may improve iron bioavailability.

  • Fasting: Fasting helps cells recycle waste and repair themselves, making iron more available to those who need it.

  • Vitamin D: Don't forget the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D ensures the body can utilize both plant and animal-sourced iron, ensuring it gets put into action.

In a nutshell, it's not just about eating right. Understand why you're facing iron issues and take steps to address the root cause.

Combine targeted nutritional strategies with lifestyle changes for optimal results in overcoming deficiencies and maintaining long-term health.


Recognizing the primary symptoms of iron deficiency and anemia, such as fatigue and pale skin, is crucial for maintaining overall health.

Understanding the impact of excessive menstruation and chronic inflammation on iron levels can guide appropriate dietary and lifestyle adjustments.

By addressing the root causes of iron deficiency and anemia and implementing targeted nutritional and lifestyle interventions, individuals can optimize iron absorption and mitigate the risk of associated health complications.

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan