ron-Deficiency Anemia Awareness for National Women’s Health Week

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All week long, we’ve been celebrating National Women’s Health Week by talking about some of the steps women can take to protect and improve their health, including breast thermography and pre-natal massage. Today, on the last day of National Women’s Health Week, we’re going to discuss an issue that affects millions of women: iron-deficiency anemia.

Anemia is a common condition that is characterized by a deficiency in red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. An estimated 3.5 million Americans have some form of anemia, and women of reproductive age are particularly prone to iron-deficiency anemia, since menstruation leads to blood loss. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that about one out of every five women of childbearing age has iron-deficiency anemia. Within this group, those who are particularly at risk are pregnant women, since the body’s blood supply needs are much greater during pregnancy, as well as female athletes, vegetarians, and teenage girls who are underweight or have particularly heavy periods.

The most common symptom of anemia is fatigue, so a lot of women with the condition don’t know they have it. Other possible symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and cold hands. If you think you might have iron-deficiency anemia, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about getting a simple blood test to find out if you need to address the condition, and National Women’s Health Week is a great reminder to do just that!

What To Do About Iron-Deficiency Anemia

For most women, doctors recommend addressing anemia through dietary changes and nutritional supplementation. In terms of diet, women are encouraged to eat more iron-rich foods. The most bioavailable type of iron — that is, the most effective for boosting hemoglobin levels — is heme iron, which comes from animal products like beef, poultry, and fish. Non-heme iron, which comes from plant products, is less bioavailable, but it can also help, especially for vegetarians. Iron-rich plant-based products include lentils, spinach, whole grains, and molasses.

Usually, women who are diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia also start taking an iron supplement. The most common supplement on the market is ferrous sulfate, but a lot of women hesitate  to take it. For one thing, it commonly causes stomach upset. It also reacts easily with food, so if you take it too close to meals, it loses much of its effectiveness for boosting your hemoglobin levels.

An alternative supplement that many women with iron-deficiency anemia are now considering is iron glycinate. This form of iron is easier on your stomach than other iron supplements, and it’s also more effective: the amino acid glycine is one of the two starting materials that the body uses to synthesize hemoglobin, and the unique structure of iron glycinate makes it especially bioavailable. Plus, it has fewer interactions with food, so it can still help treat iron-deficiency anemia even on days when you end up taking it too close to a meal.

If you’ve been looking for healthier, more effective ways to increase your iron intake, trying iron glycinate is a great way to celebrate National Women’s Health Week! Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers iron glycinate, as well as a variety of other dietary supplements that can support your long-term physical and mental wellness. Contact us today to learn more about all of the services we offer and to schedule an appointment!

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