What are the signs that you may be low in iron? The problem is that unless you are technically anemic, it may be easy to miss that you are not at your optimum level of iron.
Some of the common signs of low iron include:
- Extreme fatigue (even with sufficient sleep).
- Inability to finish tasks (due largely to the aforementioned fatigue).
- Low body temperature particularly in the hands and feet.
- Heart palpitations.
- A grayish pallor to your skin.
- Muscle weakness.
- Pica (eating clay, salt, ice, or cardboard).
- You may also develop depression.
Children low in iron may grow slowly or may lag behind in developmental milestones.
If you have signs of low iron, ask your doctor for a test. If you are low in iron, I encourage you to begin an iron supplement immediately. You may have almost immediate relief.
However, over the long-term increase the iron-rich foods in your diet. Note the graphs below that list animal- and plant-based sources of iron (from the food-nutrient database maintained by the USDA). If your diet contains little or no meat, read the information on this site about increasing your absorption of iron (and other minerals) by soaking beans and soaking grains by reducing phytic acid.
Source: Virgil F. Fairbanks, 1994. “Iron in Medicine and Nutrition” in Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease Lea & Febiger: Philadelphia, p 185-213.