Heavy periods and iron deficiency anaemia

Fatigue, weakness, headache, short of breath. Perhaps you are familiar with these symptoms. They are very common among women and although they do not underlie serious illness, they can be a sign of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). Most often, IDA is linked to poor nutrient absorption or insufficient iron intake. Heavy periods and iron deficiency (anaemia) might be linked, as loss of blood -in the case of heavy periods can lower the level of iron in the body.

Heavy flow

Millions of women suffer from heavy uterine bleeding or heavy flow. They usually cause a significant discomfort and cramps, every month. It is worth checking with a specialist to see if your symptoms fall within the normal range or if you require further investigation. By “further investigation”, I do not refer to signing up for contraceptive pills or other heavy traditional medications. However, it helps you know on which side you are, so you can take care of your situation and look more into it. However, do not rush and take the only advice your GP/gyn/ob gives to you. Do not hesitate to ask for more opinions, including a more holistic approach.

Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)

Iron is important to your body because it helps make haemoglobin, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. When there is a shortage of iron in your body, your blood cells won’t have enough oxygen. This might make you feel tired, dizzy, weak and your skin look pale. IDA can also be asymptomatic so some women might not have any symptom.

If you are suspected if iron deficiency anaemia and you know that your periods are quite heavy, there might be some naturist treatments you can try first. Many health conditions can be diminished by changing the diet, so have a look below to see if any of the follow suggestions interest you:

Naturist treatment of IDA

Diet

Diet changes might be one of the first steps you want to take in improving your iron intake. Red meet, pork and poultry are amazing sources of iron that are quick absorbed by your body.

Seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables and dried fruits are rich in iron but if you have a serious iron deficiency, eating only this won’t be enough. Including this in your diet will help you keep the iron level steady, but it won’t help you increase it.

Add iron supplements. These can be taken with vitamin C for a better absorption.

If you are looking for a reliable brand, Health Span. They are UK’s largest mail-order supplier of vitamins, minerals and health supplements. Their products are absorbed by the body and will show you significant improvements. For their website, click here.

Important:

If you are a coffee lover, it is worth knowing that caffeine does not allow iron to absorb into your body. Caffeine has a significant impact on your iron absorption. To avoid this, is best to take your supplements/eat iron rich foods at least 1h before drinking coffee or eat your meal/take your supplements at least 2h after having your coffee. Respecting these two simple rules will make your treatment more efficient in a shorter period of time.

Foods that help you absorb more iron

Foods rich in vitamin C: studies showed that taking 100 mg of vitamin C increased iron absorption by 67%. Hence, taking your supplements with citrus juice or eating them with some vitamin C rich foods, will help iron to absorb quicker.

Foods rich in vitamin A and Beta-Carotene : in a recent study conducted on 100 participants, it has been found that giving foods rich in vitamin A increased iron production up to 200%. Adding Beta-Carotene increased iron absorption up to 300%.

Foods that may hinder iron absorption

Foods containing Phytate: foods like whole grains, nuts, cereals and soy. Phytate can decrease the absorbtion of iron up to 82% when consumed in large quantities (250g). However, the effects can be minimised by consuming foods that encourage iron production.

Calcium rich foods: Dairy products (milk, cheese) can hinder iron absorption. One study has found that 165 mg of calcium from milk can reduce iron absorption by 50-60%. To maximise iron absorption, calcium rich foods should not be combined with your iron rich diet.

Foods containing polyphenols: coffee, tea, wine and some cereals. In one study, drinking a cup of black tea reduced iron absorption up to 70%. However, if participants drank the tea between meals, the absorption was only about 20%.

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