How to Know if You are Iron Deficient

Beyond fatigue: from your hair to your heart, everything’s affected

Without sufficient iron, you’re likely to feel very, very tired. But that’s just the start of it. And if you think you’re immune because you already eat plenty of iron, think again. What you eat and what you absorb are two very different matters.

Iron deficiency is a leading risk factor for disability and death and is the most common nutritional deficiency across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Are you one of the two billion people running on empty, without knowing it?

Shortness of breath and fatigue are the most obvious signs. That’s because without enough iron, your body can’t produce sufficient haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that enables the delivery of oxygen around the body.

There are other, lesser-known signs that you should be aware of. These include hair loss. If you are alarmed at how much you lose when you wash or brush your hair, or how dry it has become, don’t ignore the warnings. Be suspicious too if you have other visible symptoms, including spoon-shaped or brittle nails, sores at the corner of the mouth, and/or a sore tongue

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