Back to school today for the second term.
First quarter of the year is completed.
The season of Autumn is becoming more real. Leaves changing colour and falling. Crisper mornings and cooler evenings.
Glorious days with big blue skies. It's a lovely time of year.
So, one of us wrote to me asking if could I write about iron - so here we go -
For me growing up, I lived with my dad, and regularly once I got my period, liver of various origins was served up as an evening meal.
It wasn't really explained to me why we were having liver but since then I've learnt that liver is a good source of iron.
Since it is important to have sufficient iron in the body this was a good meal to have.
What does iron do?
Its #1 job is to bind a haemoglobin molecule to a red blood cell.
Haemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen.
Without enough oxygen your cells will begin to die.
When you don't have enough iron then you can become anaemic.
When you're anaemic your body has less of an ability to carry oxygen in your blood.
As a result you may start to feel tired and have less energy.
Children and menstruating women are more likely to become anaemic.
Children because they may not be eating enough variety – (ask me - that's my two year old. He has a very limited diet).
Women because of menstruating, pregnancy and premenopausal.
Now it is easy to work out whether you are anaemic.
The question is why. There could be a number of reasons –
Before you start supplementing with iron, I would suggest that you have your blood tested.
Having too much iron is as bad for your body as not having enough.
The blood test to have is called Serum Ferritin.
It measures the molecule in your blood that carries iron. If your ferritin levels are low then your iron levels are low.
The healthy range is between 20 to 80 nanograms per millilitre.
Once you know you are low in iron then you can start to boost your stores using food.
There are two types of iron found in food heme and non-heme iron.
Heme iron is found in meat and seafood. These foods are quickly absorbed by the body.
Non-heme foods are plant-based – fruit, vegetables and nuts.
To improve absorption of these non-heme foods choose to eat vitamin C rich foods or supplement with vitamin C.
On the flip side too much iron in the body can cause its own problems.
The best thing to do is to know your numbers.
Ask your doctor for a Serum ferritin test.
Should you need to supplement with iron then choose chelated iron or carbonyl iron or ferrous bisglycinate.
There is also a plant derived supplement called Floradix.
These options are less likely to cause constipation or other intestinal abscess which ferrous sulphate can do.
Vitamin D may also have an effect on your iron levels.
In a study done evaluating blood sampling researchers could show there was a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of anaemia.
A large percentage of the population is vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D is linked to so many bodily functions that it stands to reason that by normalising your vitamin D levels your over overall health could improve.