Each month, I receive all types of health questions. Sometimes I can answer a lot of questions at one time by covering a particular topic in detail. Hundreds of questions can be answered and just as many health solutions can be found in a discussion about iron deficiency. If you notice that you are losing more hair as you get older, have heart problems, less energy, extreme fatigue—or one of the many symptoms I’ll mention later—you may have a problem with iron deficiency.
But to call it “iron poor blood” would be an oversimplification, to say the least. Your intake and utilization of iron involves many areas, and you need to have a full understanding of it if you expect to be as healthy as possible. Iron has been called the second most important mineral in your body (calcium being number one). Your body contains only 3–5 grams of iron (there are 28.35 grams in 1 ounce)! Even though you need very little iron, it is absolutely essential for life, and your body works hard to recycle and reuse the iron it has. In fact, you normally don’t lose more than 2 mg a day.
It would seem that because you need such a small amount, it would be easy for everyone to get enough iron from their regular diet. This is not always the case. While your efficiency at using iron is fantastic, your ability to digest iron is sometimes lacking, especially as you get older. If you remember, iron is one of the three substances that requires lots of hydrochloric acid from the stomach to be digested properly. Calcium and protein are the other two.
Even when your stomach produces 100 percent of the acid it should be, you still digest and assimilate only about 10 percent of the iron you eat. If you’re over 50 years of age and your stomach is producing only 15 percent of the hydrochloric acid it produced at age 25, then your chances of getting enough iron are pretty slim. (It’s even worse if you are over 65 years of age.) If you have digestive problems like gas, bloating, and indigestion—problems also associated with healthy digestive function—then it’s likely you also have an iron problem.