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Women & Iron Levels



Aug 11, 2010
Micronutrients help maintain and build up your body. Iron is the most common mineral defeciency in women.

Micronutrients are important for building and repairing of body tissues, blood, energy production, healthy bones, and an adequate immune system. Prolonged restricted diets often bring about inadequate micronutrient intake and status. This can ultimately result in bone loss, anemia, impaired immune function, poor athletic performance and reduced recovery from injuries.

Foods that enhance the absorption and availability of iron are meat and fruits.

The most prevalent mineral deficiency in women is iron. Surveys of women throughout the US revealed that the average daily intake of iron by women was less than the RDA of 15 mg/day. This is due to several factors, primarily, the low daily intake of iron-rich foods. Many women do not eat enough red meat, fish and poultry in a day to supply their daily iron needs. In addition, many women are continually on a weight reduction diet, which further compounds their deficiencies. Also, vegetarian diets reduce the availability of iron even if it is adequately supplied in the food.

It's easy to lose iron
In addition to iron lost in sweat and other body fluids, women also lose iron through menstruation. Twenty to 30% of average American women, including adolescents, may be deficient in iron stores in the body. Female athletes represent a higher number, up to 60%. Even though many women may have adequate dietary iron intake, most of their iron comes from foods that contain a form of iron that has low availability in the body. These foods may be breakfast cereals and bars, fat-free and low-fat snacks, or other foods that contain high fiber. Some foods, such as legumes, contain compounds (phytates) that bind iron in the gut and prevent it from being absorbed.

Foods that enhance the absorption and availability of iron are meat and fruits. Meat, especially red meat, is a rich source of iron, and also enhances iron absorption. Therefore, women should be sure to include adequate amounts of meat in their daily diet and possibly include a daily iron supplement.