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The iron deficiency 

The need of Iron minerals is essential for the proper functioning of the human body.

Iron plays a vital role in our organism. It contributes to the transport of the oxygen via the hemoglobin, and is involved in the neuro-transmitters mechanisms. This is why a lack of iron leads to poor concentration, attention and memory problems as well as verbal learning.

 

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But this failure does not only affect the cognitive functions but also leads to great fatiguelack of energy and decreased muscle strength. It can also result in fragile hair (brittle hair) or hair lossincrease of emotional distress and worsening depressions, especially for women who have just given birth. For children and adolescents, iron deficiency can impair growth.

Iron is present in very small quantities in the body and part of this iron is removed daily. To maintain a sufficient iron level, it is necessary to compensate its losses by food intake. If intake is inadequate compared to the losses, the iron deficiency will have  implications on health.

 

Regardless of the anemia itself, iron deficiency is very common and rarely diagnosed. In France, it affects 25% of female population.

The causes

Age, pregnancy, intense sport activities, a stressful event are many demanding periods in live which solicit our organisms. Requirements for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are thus more important and essential during these periods for our well-being and maintenance of our health. 

Blood loss 

For the adults, anemia is most often caused by:

Invisible blood losses (90% of cases) of either gastrointestinal origin (small but prolonged bleeding, sometimes with black stool or presence of blood in the stool) or gynecological (small repeated bleeding) or related drug taking;

  • Visible blood loss (eg, heavy menstrual periods and / or long). 
  • Inadequate intake of dietary iron 

Anemia can also be due to inadequate intake of iron in the diet, compared to the needs of the body. These are particularly important for two population groups:

For pregnant women, their iron needs increase significantly with the growth of the fetus and placenta, and the significant increase in blood volume. They are particularly affected by the deficiency, especially in late pregnancy.

Also, an iron deficiency related to food can also occur for strict vegetarian or vegan diet.

the consequences

Symptoms

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Fatigue 
Loss of concentration 
Migraine 
Loss of appetite 
Nervousness 
Breathlessness 
immunosuppression