How to Tell When Your Serum Iron Levels Are Low
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Are you feeling constantly fatigued, experiencing dizziness, or noticing your skin looking paler than usual?
These could be signs that your serum iron levels are running low.
Iron is a nutrient that is necessary for good health, and when it drops below optimal levels, its hard for you to go about your usual activities because of the symptoms it causes.
In this blog post, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of low serum iron levels, the causes, and effective ways to recognize and address it.
So, if you’ve been wondering why you’ve been feeling less than your best, then keep on reading to know what happens when your serum iron levels are low and how to spot them.
What is Serum Iron?
Serum iron is the measure of iron circulating in your bloodstream.
In other words, serum iron is the amount of iron in the blood plasma.
It’s also a critical indicator of your body’s iron status.
When your serum iron levels are balanced, your body functions optimally. However, when it drops, it can lead to a range of health issues.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), normal serum iron levels for adult men range from 65 to 175 µg/dL, while for adult women, it’s 50 to 150 µg/dL.
Causes of Low Serum Iron
Low serum iron can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Low intake of iron-rich foods
- Chronic kidney disease
- Long-term digestive tract bleeding
- Poor absorption of iron
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Frequent blood donation
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors
Symptoms of Low Serum Iron
The severity of the iron deficiency determines the symptoms. In mild cases, there may be no symptoms at all. It includes:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Pale skin and Brittle nails
- Shortness of breath
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation of your tongue
- Restless Legs
Diagnosing Low Serum Iron
If you suspect low levels of serum iron, a blood test called serum iron test can measure the amount of iron in your blood.
Other blood tests that may be done include a total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) test, a transferrin saturation test, and a ferritin test.
Treatment of Low Serum Iron
The treatment for low serum iron depends on what’s causing it.
If the low serum iron is due to iron deficiency anemia, treatment will involve increasing your iron intake by eating iron-rich foods and taking iron supplements.
In some cases, you may need to have iron infusions. Iron infusions are a way to deliver iron directly into your bloodstream.
It’s given through a vein and are a more concentrated form of iron.
They are often used when oral iron supplements are not effective or when the person cannot tolerate oral iron supplements.
Dietary Strategies to Boost Your Serum Iron
Here are some dietary strategies for boosting low serum iron levels:
- Eat iron-rich foods. The best sources of iron are heme iron, which is found in animal foods, and nonheme iron, which is found in plant foods.
- Combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich sources to boost iron absorption.
- When planning to eat iron-rich foods spread your meals at different time intervals throughout the day, and avoid eating calcium-rich foods or supplements with iron-rich meals.
- Avoid foods that contain phytate, it interferes with the absorption of iron.
- Tea and coffee contain tannins, that interferes with the absorption of iron, so its best to avoid drinking tea or coffee within two hours of eating iron-rich foods.
Iron Supplement and Medications
If dietary changes aren’t enough, consider iron supplements.
There are different types of iron supplements available, such as; ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, and ferric citrate.
Here’s are a list of the best iron supplements recommended for you:
- Performance Energy Multivitamin for Men – Food-Based Formula – Iron Free (180 Tablets)
- Once Daily Multivitamin – Iron Free (90 Tablets)
- Source of Life Multivitamin – Iron Free (180 Tablets)
- Full Spectro Multivitamin – Iron Free – Whole Food Based (360 Capsules)
- Floradix Iron + Herbs Liquid Extract (17 Fluid Ounces)
- Formula VM-75 Multivitamin With Chelated Minerals – Iron Free (180 Tablets)
The choice depends on your needs and tolerances.
There are a few things you can do to prevent low serum iron:
- Eat a diet that is rich in iron-rich foods.
- Drink orange juice and eat other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods.
- Women who are experiencing menstrual bleeding should take iron supplements.
- If you are a vegetarian, make sure to get enough iron from plant-based sources, such as beans, lentils, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Get regular blood tests to check your serum iron levels.
- Stay up-to-date on how to keep your iron levels healthy.
Keeping your serum iron levels in check is important for your overall health.
By knowing the signs and causes of low serum iron, and taking the right steps, you can stay energetic and healthy.
Remember, a balanced diet with iron-rich foods and some vitamin C for better absorption can make a big difference.
Don’t forget, a regular blood tests will help you stay on top of your iron levels and maintain your well-being.