ARTICLE June Check The Gut PART 1...Iron

Check The Gut PART 2….Iron Deficiency

 

 

Healthy gut function and iron deficiency go hand in hand. Are you iron deficient? Are you taking supplements but seeing no improvements? Maybe you need to check your gut.

 

Finding where the problem lies….

 

Is it coming in?

A common cause of iron deficiency is a diet that is low in iron-rich foods, whether it be a diet of processed foods, a vegan or vegetarian diet, or just a diet lacking iron-rich foods. 

Take Charge 

  • Include iron-rich foods in the diet: red meat, organ meats like liver, green leafy vegetables, molasses and spinach
  • Eat Vitamin C sources alongside iron-rich foods to increase absorption
  • Did you know that cooking food in cast iron cookware causes the food to absorb iron and increases your iron? 

 

Is it staying in?

If the diet has plenty of iron-rich foods, the problem could lie with the absorption of the diet. Common things that inhibit iron absorption are caffeine and tannins, competing minerals, poor digestive function or other digestive issues such as parasites, or medications, especially antacids and proton pump inhibitors. 

Take Charge

  • Consume caffeine at least 1–2 hours away from iron-rich foods and supplements. Cut down on caffeine if you are deficient
  • Consuming vitamin-c alongside iron-rich foods and supplements to enhance the absorption of iron. These foods include oranges, kiwi fruit, red capsicum, strawberries and broccoli 
  • Reducing unnecessary medications by trialling lifestyle changes. Avoid certain foods that trigger sensitivities, no heavy meals at night, heal the gut; manage stress, etc
  • Digestive enzymes can support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, increasing iron absorption from both foods and supplements. 

Is it leaking out?

So you have ensured you are getting iron in and your body is absorbing the iron. It is essential to find out why the iron is leaking out; otherwise, it’s like filling up a bucket of water with holes in it. You can continue to fill all you want, but it will never “be full.”. 

 

Take Charge

Discuss with a healthcare professional if you need help with any of the following:

  • Chronic, unexplained iron deficiency needs to be further investigated
  • If you generally experience gut symptoms, work on healing your gut, which may help with the absorption of nutrients
  • Do you have heavy menstrual bleeds? If yes, look into hormone testing and work with a healthcare professional
  • During pregnancy, the need for iron doubles. Talk to your healthcare professional about prenatal vitamins containing iron or an iron supplement
  • Coeliac and gluten intolerances are common causes of iron deficiency that won’t improve. In cases of chronic, unexplained iron deficiency, talk to your healthcare professional

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Choosing supplements (after discussing with your healthcare professional)
  • Get your iron tested before taking a supplement. Excess iron is not good. Supplement if you have a proven deficiency, then maintain levels with diet
  • Not all iron supplements are created equal, some are high doses but poorly absorbed, and some are lower doses but easily and well absorbed. Chat to your health care professional to find a good formula and one that doesn’t cause gut symptoms
  • Replenishing iron stores can take up to 4 months. Retest after 3–6 months
  • Studies have shown that taking iron on alternate days is more effective for absorption

 

 

Love Alissa & Kristyn ❤

 

 

 

 

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