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July 4, 2022

The Secret Connection between Soil Depletion and Iron Deficiency

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Iron is an indispensable mineral for the body. We mainly get this mineral through our diet. The role of iron in our physiology is diverse and includes:

  • Red blood cell formation
  • Immune system optimization
  • Cognitive function

While everyone should be getting enough iron through their diet, this is not the case anymore. Today, we are seeing more cases of iron deficiency anemia than ever. The only explanation is that our food is becoming less nutritious than before.

In this article, we will discuss the topic of soil depletion and its effect on the nutrients found in our food. After that, we’ll cover the importance of iron and how you can get more into your system.

Is our food less nutritious?

Every year, our crops become less nutritious due to a concept known as soil depletion. Because humans are rapidly depleting the Earth’s soil faster than it can be replenished, it means we are eating the same amount of crops but receiving exceedingly fewer nutrients.

Consider the following facts:

Out of all these nutrients, iron might be the most affected element. This is why we are seeing more cases of iron deficiency anemia. The good news is that there is a way around that (more on that later).

The importance of iron

Without iron, there will be no hematopoiesis. This refers to the process of producing white and red blood cells. You see, for the cells to make hemoglobin, they need iron to bind oxygen.

Insufficient amounts of iron in the body lead to severe consequences, including iron deficiency anemia. Without this mineral, your immune cells are not able to function properly. One study found that iron deficiency leads to immune dysfunction. As a result, you are more likely to get viral and bacterial infections.

Furthermore, low levels of iron interfere with the normal function of your brain. Consequently, you will experience a decline in:

  • Concentration
  • Memory capacity
  • Attention span

The absorption of iron

After reading about the risks of iron deficiency, we would understand if you want to binge-eat on foods rich in iron. However, it is not that simple. The absorption of iron does not occur completely. In fact, only 2–18% of the iron in your food gets absorbed. This means that the vast majority of the iron you consume gets excreted through the feces.

The most important factor that determines iron absorption is stomach pH. The higher the acidity, the more iron gets absorbed.

With all of that said, here are some iron-rich foods:

  • Meat (e.g., lamb, pork, chicken, beef)
  • Seafood (e.g.; sardines, shrimp, clams, and oysters)
  • Beans
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Eggs
  • Leafy greens
  • Raisins and dried fruit
  • Iron-fortified dry and instant cereals

You also need to have a general view of how much iron you need per day.

Here are a few recommendations: (I)

Age Male Female
4–8 years 10 mg/day 10 mg/day
9–13 years 8 mg/day 8 mg/day
14–18 years 11 mg/day 15 mg/day (27 mg/day if pregnant)
19–50 years 8 mg/day 18 mg/day (27 mg/day if pregnant)
+51 years 8 mg/day 8 mg/day

What happens when you don’t get enough iron?

Not getting enough iron leads to low levels of hemoglobin. As a result, your organs and peripheral tissues will not receive enough oxygen. Doctors refer to this condition as hypoxemia. Neglecting iron deficiency can lead to cell death and other debilitating complications.

Iron deficiency anemia is the most prevalent consequence of insufficient iron in your blood.

Women with active menstruation are considerably more susceptible to iron deficiency anemia. This is due to heavy blood loss during menstruation. Poor dietary choices can worsen this condition.

We should note that inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g., ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia.

The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia

Most patients barely experience any symptoms during the early stages of iron deficiency. The American Society of Hematology released a statement saying that the vast majority of patients are not even aware they have this disease.

Unfortunately, once iron levels drop lower, patients develop some severe symptoms, including:

  • Asthenia (i.e., general fatigue)
  • Dyspnea (i.e., shortness of breath)
  • Pagophagia (i.e., unusual cravings to chew on ice)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pale skin
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Brittle nails
  • Headaches

How liquid iron solves this problem

The rate of liquid iron absorption is subject to several factors. This includes the timing of taking this supplement. Ideally, you would consume liquid iron on an empty stomach. However, keep an eye on some side effects (e.g., nausea, constipation).

Unlike solid forms, liquid iron supplements generally come in lower concentrations. This is because manufacturers fear that children may accidentally drink them.

Compared to dietary iron and solid-form supplements, liquid iron has a significantly higher absorption rate. Taking this product will dramatically decrease your risk of deficiency.

Make the smart move like many of our readers already have and get your own liquid iron supplement through this link.

Takeaway message

Soil depletion is causing detrimental effects on the nutritious profile of our foods. Today, people suffer from all sorts of nutritional deficiencies, which lead to a myriad of health problems.

For iron specifically, you need to get enough of this mineral regardless of the method. This is why liquid iron supplements are getting a lot of traction over the past few years. This form of iron bypasses the absorption issue that faces solid iron.

We hope that this article helped you appreciate the massive impact of soil depletion on our nutritional status and what we can do about it.

If you have questions or concerns about anything covered above, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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