Are you tired and there is no obvious reason? You may lack iron …
One in five people feel unusually tired on a regular basis and one in ten suffers prolonged fatigue, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom. Sometimes, there may not be an obvious reason.
It is surprising, then, that we are just beginning to understand some of the causes of tiredness and fatigue. What's more, new research is throwing some surprising facts about the role our diet plays.RELATED
How does iron deficiency affect us?
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide. More than 30% of the world's population is anemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
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The National Diet and Nutrition Survey of the United Kingdom reveals that 48% of girls between 11 and 18 years old, 27% of women between 19 and 64 years old and almost one in 10 boys between 11 and 18 years old They record a low iron intake. How does this affect energy levels?
Foods high in iron can help those with anemia.
The blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets.
The former work as a kind of small transporters that carry oxygen to the rest of your body. They are formed in the spinal cord, which produces them in millions daily.
Red blood cells last about 120 days in the bloodstream, so they need replacement constantly.
The spinal cord needs a lot of iron and vitamins like folic acid and B12 to work well. Without them, the production of red blood cells can decrease, which can reduce oxygen in the bloodstream and organ and tissue failures.
Anemia occurs when you have less or less red blood cells or less hemoglobin in each red blood cell, which is what causes oxygen to spread throughout the body.
Anemia causes tiredness and possibly a low energy level, dizziness, shortness of breath and the feeling that the heart beats rapidly.
If you have anemia with folic acid or B12 deficiency, the red blood cells will be abnormally large, which will prevent them from leaving the bone marrow to enter the bloodstream.
Meat contains heminic iron, which is better absorbed than non-heminic vegetables.
Anemia is rarely caused by diet alone, but increasing iron intake can help, provided it is done by consulting a doctor.
Can increasing iron intake help if you don't have anemia?
Experts believe that increasing iron consumption can give more energy if iron stores are low, even if hemoglobin levels (the part of your red blood cells that carry oxygen) are above the limit to diagnose anemia.
It is estimated that non-anemic iron deficiency affects approximately three times as many people as iron deficiency anemia.
The British Medical Journal and the British Public Health Service (NHS) agree that this may be a poorly recognized cause of fatigue, particularly among women of childbearing age.
To put this problem in context, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of the United Kingdom, 5% of girls between 15 and 18 have iron deficiency anemia, but almost 24% have low iron stores.
In the United Kingdom, among women between 35 and 49, 4.8% have iron deficiency anemia.
Among women aged 35 to 49, 4.8% have iron deficiency anemia, but almost 12.5% have low iron stores.
Anemia and low iron stores are rare in boys and men under 64, but they pose significant risks for those over 65.
Does this mean that one should take iron supplements if one feels tired?
Not necessarily: it is important to consult the doctor and request a diagnosis, since iron overdoses are possible.
What do you have to eat to be less tired?
Iron comes in two forms: heminic and non-heminic.
Fortified plants and foods (to which an additional protein intake has been added) only contain non-heminic iron.
Red meat, poultry and fish contain heminic and non-heminic iron. Heminic iron is absorbed better than the other.
If you've ever heard that foods rich in vitamin C help increase iron absorption, this is true but only for the non-heminic.
Red blood cells are necessary to transport oxygen to the rest of the body.
The combination of foods that one makes matters, since there are components in tea, coffee and calcium that inhibit iron absorption.
What other deficiencies can cause fatigue?
Vitamin D: this is obtained from sun exposure and supplements. Symptoms of this deficiency include fatigue.
Vitamin B12: tiredness is one of the symptoms of low B12 levels or anemia due to folic acid deficiency, but this is usually caused by absorption problems.
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Zinc: usually occurs in children but its deficiency is rare. You have to be careful with the supplements, because consuming it a lot can cause anemia.
Vitamin A: A deficiency of this vitamin that causes symptoms is very rare.
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