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Tips for self-treatment of iron deficiency
Iron deficiency is one of the most common symptoms and shows e.g. due to brittle nails, torn corners of the mouth, striking facial pallor and problems concentrating. A deficiency can be determined by a blood test and, depending on the extent, can be treated with suitable drugs. As an alternative or in addition, proven home remedies can be used to naturally balance the iron balance again. In the case of more severe symptoms of deficiency, medication from the attending doctor is essential.
First aid for symptoms of deficiency: iron-containing foods
With a slight undersupply, it often helps to prefer iron-containing foods for daily food intake. These primarily include meat, sausage, pork liver and fish, alternatively the increased demand can also be covered by various fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and certain spices.
For example, beetroot and carrots are recommended. These can be drunk in juice form, steamed or eaten raw. Pumpkin and red berries such as currants, elderberries or raspberries also counteract the iron deficiency. The same applies to nuts and kernels (e.g. Brazil nuts, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds) as well as whole grains and leafy vegetables such as fennel, chard, arugula and zucchini. Applesauce or dried fruit such as peaches, apricots or dates are very suitable. The same applies to legumes (beans, peas etc.), chanterelles, parsley and salsify.
In order to support the absorption of trivalent iron, foods should be supported with foods containing vitamin C (e.g. lemon). So that the body e.g. A glass of orange juice helps to better remove the iron from oatmeal. Whole grain bread works better if you consume raw food. Because lactic acid supports iron absorption. is e.g. Sauerkraut is a good addition.
Drinks against deficiency symptoms
In order to bring the nutrient balance back into balance, iron-containing foods in liquid form offer a good addition or alternative - especially for vegetarians and vegans. These include red juices from raspberries, currants, cherries, blueberries or grapes, pomegranate juice and beetroot juice. The health food store has a so-called “herbal blood juice” that can be used effectively if there is a lack of iron.
Be careful with coffee, fast food and cola
Black tea and coffee hinder the iron absorption in the body due to the contained tannin - especially if you drink a lot. Phosphates, such as those found in fast food or in cola, for example, are also counterproductive. In the case of spinach, which was previously praised in this way, it was found that the oxalic acid it contains also impedes the absorption of the trace element. The acid also occurs in cocoa and rhubarb.
Iron is absorbed differently
The absorption capacity of iron is different. Divalent iron, which is mainly found in meat, sausages, liver and fish, can be absorbed about ten times better than the trivalent form. Vegetable iron is in a trivalent form, which makes it somewhat difficult to absorb in the body. In addition, the phytates contained in plants have an inhibiting effect.
However, this does not mean that vegetarians or vegans necessarily suffer from iron deficiency. Remedy is the additional intake of vitamin C, for example in the form of orange juice. Not every amount of iron that is supplied to the body is immediately available there. So the body can handle small, more frequent gifts better than a large amount at once.
Compilation of food
If the main suppliers of iron - meat and sausages - are not consumed, the correct composition of the food is particularly important to prevent a deficiency. For example, it is recommended to drink a glass of "red juice" (e.g. raspberry juice) with muesli with oatmeal in the morning. A couple of spoons of sauerkraut go well with a wholemeal bread roll to ensure an adequate supply.
Dairy products should not be consumed with foods containing iron, as calcium can inhibit the absorption of iron. Especially if the person suffers from a cold or another infection, the supply of the trace element is very important, since every infection is an "iron predator".
Herbs for iron deficiency
Nettles are among the medicinal herbs that contain a lot of good iron and can help in the case of deficiency symptoms in pure (in the salad), in the soup, as a smoothie or tea. In addition, the “wild vegetables” contain many valuable vitamins, silica and lecithin, which help to strengthen the immune system and boost the metabolism.Recipe for a cup of nettle tea
- Pick a few fresh nettle leaves (be careful not to forget your gloves!)
- Pour boiling water over a handful of them in a cup
- Leave for five to seven minutes, then strain
- Drink a cup of the tea three times a day
A nettle tincture is particularly effective for iron deficiency. This is an herbal extract with alcohol, in which not only the water-soluble but also the alcohol-soluble substances are dissolved from the plants. Since the alcohol preserves, tinctures have a very long shelf life, only after about a year the active ingredients slowly lose their strength.
Making tinctures yourself is not difficult and you then have a herbal preparation in the medicine cabinet that can be taken directly if necessary.What you need for a nettle tincture:
- A handful of freshly picked or two three teaspoons of dried nettle
- 50 milliliters of high-proof schnapps (e.g. grain or vodka)
- A tightly lockable mason jar
- A small dropper bottle made of brown glass
Pour the dried or shredded fresh nettles (gloves!) Into the mason jar and pour the alcohol on them. Close the jar well and leave it in a warm place for three weeks. In the meantime, shake the neck gently. After the time has elapsed, the tincture is stripped (e.g. through a tea filter) and transferred to the dark bottle. Take 20-30 drops in a little water twice a day.
There is a lot of iron in dandelions. You can enjoy this as a salad or in tea form, possibly also mixed with nettles. The same applies to thyme and mint. Enrich your food with herbs such as parsley, chives and cress, this usually has a positive effect on the iron balance. A good help for anemia due to a deficiency are daisies, the ingredients of which work in the salad as a “blood cleanser”.
Natural treatment with homeopathy and Schüssler salts
Homeopathy offers among other things when there is a deficiency Ferrum pentarkan on. It is a complex agent that not only contains the trace element itself, but also promotes the body's ability to absorb iron.
It is recommended for anemia due to a deficiency Ferrum metallicum. This is made from iron and can thus relieve most of the symptoms typical of anemia such as tiredness, irritability, concentration problems, paleness or brittle hair.
If you want to counter iron deficiency with the means of nature, you can take the Schüssler Salt No. 3 (Ferrum phosphoricum) as a useful addition to iron-containing foods.
Other suitable Schüssler salts are e.g. Calcium phosphoricum (No. 2) to support new cell formation and Manganum sulfuricum (No. 17) for better iron absorption.
What does the body need iron for?
Iron is an essential trace element, which means that it cannot be produced by the body itself, but must be supplied with food. It is a building block of hemoglobin, the red blood pigment of the erythrocytes (red blood cells). Oxygen attaches itself to the iron in the molecule. In this way, the body is supplied with the essential oxygen via the blood. The trace element is also found in the red muscle dye (myoglobin), where it also has the task of binding oxygen.
Iron is a component of many enzymes and therefore involved in a wide variety of processes in the human body. Everyone needs it, but the need depends on age, gender and phase of life. For example, more of the vital trace element is needed during pregnancy and lactation. There may also be an increased need for seniors, athletes, growing children and vegetarians.
Reasons for iron deficiency
The causes of iron deficiency are usually an increased need in certain phases of life, one-sided diet (e.g. during a diet), bleeding, cancer, infections, hormonal disorders, rheumatism and frequent blood donation. Likewise, the need is increased in many women who have a heavy menstruation.
As a further possibility, the intestine can be "to blame" if there is too little iron. Since the trace element is absorbed in the small intestine, absorption can be impeded in inflammatory bowel diseases. Other reasons can be an insufficient supply of stomach acid or medications such as antibiotics, antacids (to neutralize the gastric juice) and pain relievers.
Depending on the extent, an insufficient supply of iron can lead to a wide variety of symptoms. These include reduced performance, fatigue, headache, sensitivity to the weather, irritability, shortness of breath, pale and brittle skin, brittle hair, susceptibility to infection, loss of appetite and angular cheilitis (torn corners of the mouth). Added to this is the fact that iron deficiency can impair fertility and sometimes also cause thyroid problems.
Home remedies don't always help
If there is a slight deficiency, home remedies can be used promisingly. However, if the undersupply is massive, a suitable iron preparation may have to be administered by the attending doctor. However, strict adherence to the dosage recommendations is advisable here, as too high an iron concentration in the organism can be associated with health problems.
Symptoms of deficiency should not be taken lightly, especially during pregnancy and lactation. The above-mentioned home remedies can also be taken concomitantly when medication is required and are extremely useful for preventing a deficiency. (sw, nr)