Apr 25, 2019

Iron Deficiency And Dietary Improvement


Abnormally low hemoglobin level is defined as ANEMIA. The several kinds of anemia are produced by a variety of underlying causes.   

As per WHO, Iron deficiency is thought to be the most common cause of anemia globally, although other conditions, such as folate, vitamin B12, chronic inflammation, parasitic infections, and inherited disorders can all cause anemia.

Here it is about Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron is an essential element for the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells and plays an important role in transport of oxygen to body’s tissues.

Without enough oxygen in your blood you may feel tired, weak, and short of breath.

Hemoglobin Cut Off Points

Age or Sex Group Anemia Measured by Hemoglobin (g/dl)
All Anemia Mild Anemia Moderate Anemia Severe Anemia
Men > 15 yrs. < 13.0 12-12.9 9.0-11.9 < 9.0
Non pregnant women > 15 yrs. < 12.0 10-11.9 7.0-9.9 < 7.0
Pregnant Women < 11.0 10-10.9 7.0-9.9 < 7.0
Children 6-59 mos. < 11.0 10-10.9 7.0-9.9 < 7.0
Children 5-11 yrs. < 11.5 10-11.4 7.0-9.9 < 7.0
Children 12-14 yrs. < 12.0 10-11.9 7.0-9.9 < 7.0

Note: 1. Hemoglobin is an oxygen carrying protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen through its iron component. 2. Hemoglobin concentration in whole blood is a common indicator for diagnosing anemia. 3. Hemoglobin values defining anemia change as altitude increases. 4. Medical and/or research resources should be consulted about the most appropriate estimates of hemoglobin values defining anemia in high altitude populations, as these may change by age group and location.

Deficiency of Iron in Body

The deficiency of iron in the body may be due to following reasons:

  • Blood loss: Accidental hemorrhage, Chronic diseases: cancer ulcer, Excessive menstrual losses, Excessive blood donation, repeated pregnancy.
  • Deficiency of iron in diet
  • Due to increased demand during pregnancy, lactation and infancy
  • Due to inadequate iron absorption by the body: Diarrhea, Lack of acid secretion by stomach, Antacid therapy.
DAILY IRON REQUIREMENT SOURCE : National Institute Of Nutrition ( ICMR )
MAN 17 mg/day
WOMAN 21 mg/day

How to Improve Iron

Iron in the body may be improved by consuming iron rich food items as per the requirement of the body. Only 3-5% of iron from plant sources is absorbed by the body whereas from animal source it is 15%.

 Some of the useful food items are tabled below-

Food Name Iron Content per 100 gm
Pulses and Legumes Rajma, Soyabean, Lentil dal, Bengal gram 6-8 mg
Vegetables Chaulai, Letuce, Spinach, Pumpkin leaves, Radish Leaves, Mint Leaves, Parsley, Cluster beans 2-6 mg
Dry Fruits Dried apricot, Dates, Raisins 2-4 mg
Nuts Almonds, Pistachois, Walnut 3-4 mg
Condiments and Spices Ajwain, Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Black pepper, Asafoetida 15-20 mg
Turmeric powder 46 mg
Sugars Jaggery 4 mg
Seeds Garden cress seeds, Gingelly seeds, Mustard seeds 13-19 mg
Organ Meat Liver, Spleen 10-50 mg
Poultry/Animal Meat 2-3 mg
Egg and Egg Proudcts Egg Yolk 4.9 mg

Some Useful Facts

  • Use of cast iron cookware for cooking curries and dry vegetables is useful to increase iron content.
  • VIT C improves the absorption of iron. VIT C sources are citrus fruits (guava, amla, orange, lemon etc.), vegetables (spinach, tomato etc.), fruit juices, lemonade.
  • Avoid Coffee and Tea with meals: Drinking coffee and tea with meals can reduce iron absorption.
  • Consumption of Meat, Fish and Poultry products along with meals increase iron absorption.
  • Do not take iron supplements with calcium rich sources (milk/calcium supplement). Excess of calcium interferes in the absorption of iron.

Disclaimer: The content mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor before adopting any of the suggestions.

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