Low iron is a BIG DEAL, especially when it comes to weight loss & hormonal health and here is why:
1. Iron is required to make thyroid hormones (controls your metabolism)
2. Iron is important for converting the amino acid tyrosine into dopamine (your motivation hormone)
3. Iron reflects your oxygen carrying capacity. If you don’t have enough oxygen this creates oxidative stress = fatigue, brain fog, low motivation, slow metabolism. This makes putting in the energy to cook healthy meals and do exercise throughout the day very difficult.
4. Iron deficiency has been shown to impair glucose metabolism increasing risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Other minerals are also important when it comes to managing blood sugar (see photos below). Interestingly, HIGH iron also impairs glucose metabolism since it increases oxidative stress. Neither high or low iron is ideal for blood sugar. *** In order to know what your mineral status is, testing is important. Click Here to see a sample report of the Metabolomix+ Urine test by Genova I use with patients to assess.
I see low iron very frequently in my practice and it is often down played as not being important, relevant, or viewed as if “there must be something else going on”. This is far from the case.
Iron needs to be assessed in those with weight loss resistance, low energy, and hypothyroidism.
- Ferritin is a blood marker reflective of stored iron and should be 75-100 (not 5 or 10).
- Supplementing with 15-30mg is often WAY too low
- Blood work should be repeated in 3-6 months *** You shouldn’t be on iron indefinitely
- Finding the root cause of WHY your iron is low is also important. Are your periods heavy? Do you have a chronic infection? Are you not consuming enough in your diet? Do you have issues with absorption?