Symptoms of iron deficiency commonly include fatigue, hair loss, anxiety, heart palpitations, restless legs, shortness of breath, tingling or numbness and insomnia.
Lab testing for iron levels can be done in a variety of ways, but the most accurate is by testing Ferritin levels which measures the amount of iron that is stored in the body. Testing iron levels in the blood directly can give a false normal as the body is able to draw the iron from the Ferritin to make the iron levels look normal. Iron deficiency symptoms can occur as the Ferritin levels drop even though the iron levels appear to be normal. Ferritin also can give you an idea of generalized inflammation and chronic disease occurring in the body if the levels are too high.
If your Ferritin levels are low it is important to supplement with a high quality iron as soon as possible as iron levels increase slowly. We prefer to use iron in the bisglycinate form as it has been found to increase iron stores quicker and maintain them for longer than other forms like ferrous sulfate. We also find that there are little to no side effects when using bisglycinate. Foods can help to maintain iron levels, but do not contain enough iron to raise Ferritin. Foods that are higher in iron content include meat, eggs, dark leafy green vegetables, molasses and beans.
It is possible for iron toxicity to occur if levels are too high or you have a rare genetic condition known as Hemachromatosis. Therefore, it is extremely important to consult a health care practitioner and have your Ferritin checked prior to starting any supplementation with iron.