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Signs of iron deficiency should be checked by a doctor
Iron deficiency can be caused by serious causes and should therefore be examined urgently by a doctor. The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) strongly advises against self-therapy with iron supplements. In the worst case, this could lead to considerable health impairments.
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), about ten percent of women in Germany and three percent of men show iron deficiency. Those affected have complaints such as changes in the complexion, brittle hair and nails, chronic fatigue, torn corners of the mouth (angular lips) and dizziness. Sometimes anemia develops due to the lack of iron, since iron plays an essential role in blood formation. This so-called iron deficiency anemia is characterized by insufficient blood oxygen transport capacity and a corresponding lack of oxygen in the organism. Possible consequences are headache, visual disturbances, ringing in the ears, short-term loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting.
No self-therapy with iron supplements If you show typical signs of iron deficiency, the BVL should consult a doctor as soon as possible to determine the causes of the symptoms. Thereafter, therapy with iron preparations can also be appropriate. However, the experts strongly advise against self-treatment with iron supplements. "An excessively high iron supply can have considerable health consequences," the news agency "dpa" quotes the statement by BVL expert Evelyn Breitweg-Lehmann. An excess of iron can not only trigger symptoms such as stomach pain, but is also associated with an increased risk of cancer, especially for colon cancer. By precisely determining the iron blood values before taking the iron supplements, health risks can be avoided here.
Vitamin C helps with iron utilization According to the BVL, the population in Germany is relatively well supplied with iron. As a rule, sufficient iron is ingested through the diet. Meat and nuts in particular are known to be good iron suppliers. According to the BVL expert, there is normally no fear of excessive iron intake via food. The iron II contained in meat is particularly easy to use for the organism and therefore offers a good iron supply. However, iron III, which is present in vegetables, for example, can only be absorbed with greater difficulty, although a simple trick can help. A little vitamin C for eating "turns iron-III into iron-II," says Breitweg-Lehmann. A glass of orange juice with vegetable dishes, lemon in a salad dressing or even peppers in a salad are therefore recommended at this point.
Having iron levels checked by a doctor Overall, women are significantly more likely to experience iron deficiency than men. In addition, especially in younger women, heavy menstrual bleeding can result in an increased iron requirement or possibly a corresponding iron deficiency. Young women who also eat little meat are therefore recommended by the BVL expert to have their iron levels checked by a doctor at least once a year. It can then be decided whether iron supplements are appropriate. However, according to the experts, the prophylactic intake of iron-containing supplements is not recommended, especially if no doctor has been consulted beforehand. Before special iron preparations are used, naturopathy mostly uses proven home remedies for iron deficiency. (fp)