You might even know the signs: brittle, ridged fingernails; tired and pale; headaches and dizziness…
Yeah, iron deficiency is annoying and weakening, and it’s potentially dangerous too.
I’m not trying to scare you…I just want to make people aware that it’s all too easy to have an iron deficiency without even knowing! If you feel lethargic and sick, head to the doctor and get a blood test, because anemia affects 2% of men and up to 20% of women, depending on factors like age and ethnicity!!
That makes sense, because a menstruating woman can become anemic through the loss of iron. The condition affects women disproportionately, so if you’re a woman reading this, realize that there’s up to a 1/5 chance that you have anemia.
What is It?
“Iron deficiency” doesn’t only mean that there’s a lack of iron randomly floating around in your bod.
It also means that you don’t have enough HEMOGLOBIN, a molecule that is important for you to function properly! Hemoglobin is inside your red blood cells, and it carries oxygen around your body.
Think of hemoglobin like a car that needs to transport shipments of oxygen to, say, your brain…
Like any car, it needs fuel. That fuel is iron. Without iron, you can’t make red blood cells, and your hemoglobin can’t deliver that sweet oxygen where it needs to go!
You may already know that when doctors do a blood test, they measure how many hemoglobins you have. Because that’s the most important part, that your oxygen-transporters are up and running!!
Now that you know what anemia REALLY is, and why it’s dangerous, let’s backtrack a little…
Is it MY FAULT if I Have Low Iron?
For some people, low iron is caused by a high-carb, low-fat diet, and you know I’m going to address that in just a second! 😉
However, even someone who gets tons of iron in their diet could be anemic.
This happens if your body has trouble absorbing iron, which is actually true for most people because we need powerful stomach acids to digest iron properly, and most people don’t have enough stomach acid. To build up your stomach acid, STOP taking antacids for stomach pain, and instead reduce your citrus, sugar, and gluten intake. Also, to cure stomach pain and also to increase your stomach acid, sip apple cider vinegar.
So, hey, if you’re just low on stomach acid, and you can get those levels back up (remember, stomach acid is a GOOD THING even if it probably has negative associations in your mind!), then you can cure your anemia!
But What if Your Diet is the Cause?
You might be able to predict what I’m about to say: it’s very possible to have low iron, especially as a woman who has periods, if you aren’t consuming enough meat.
Meat has lots of iron, and other iron-rich foods, such as spinach, actually cancel out their own high iron content to some degree because of their acidic makeup. (As Dr. Berg says, adding lemon to your spinach will alter the chemistry, to absorb spinach’s iron.)
It’s definitely possible to avoid anemia even if you’re vegetarian or vegan, by using tricks like the one above, and consuming iron supplements and superfoods like spirulina.
HOWEVER, considering that the highest-iron foods are meat, liver, seafood, and eggs, it’s safe to say that a HFLC shields you from being anemic quite effectively!
Do you know what your iron levels are? If you’re a woman, were you floored by that 20% statistic, and do you plan to go to the doc (or the blood donation clinic…) ASAP to get your iron levels checked? Let me know if you feel less tired and sluggish after switching to HFLC!