Iron is a trace mineral of vital importance to the body. Although there is only about a teaspoon of it in your body at any one time, it is essential in the formation of Hemoglobin, the red pigment of blood. There are two types of iron: Heme and Non-Heme. Now, Heme is more easily absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract (10-30%) while Non-Heme is only about1-10% absorbed. Heme is available in the tissues of animals. That's right, the more available source of iron is found in meats and dairy than in plants. But we suggest only obtaining your iron from vegetable sources. Why?
The interesting fact is that despite a less absorbable form of iron, vegetarians are no more likely to suffer from iron deficiency than non-vegetarians. Draper and Wheeler have stated there is no indication of increased prevalence of iron deficiency amongst vegetarians.
In fact, because iron can be stored in the body, too much iron can cause problems. Too much iron consumption leads to the production of free radicals (a molecule with an extra electron that will steal a negatively charged hydrogen electron from DNA, tissues, or organs which causes disease and aging). High levels of iron have also been found in association with heart disease and cancer. The buildup of iron in the tissues has been associated with a rare disease known as hemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder of iron metabolism that causes bronze skin pigmentation, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, and heart disorders. All of this leads us to the conclusion that despite animal foods, you should never get your iron from a supplement. First, the pill will not have all of the other organic nutrients (copper, manganese, molybdenum, Vitamin A, and the B complex) necessary to absorb the iron safely. Second, in pills, you will get something like ferrous oxide (oxidized iron: In other words, RUST).
Weakness, fatigue, overall pallor, dizziness, pale lips and eyelids, depression, pale and brittle nails, and coldness of the extremities.
An all natural whole food supplement can be helpful. VITAFORCE™ is extremely abundant in organic iron and has extraordinary blood building properties. Iron is up to 16 times more absorbable if taken with Vitamin C and this is properly balanced naturally in VITAFORCE™. It is also extremely rich in all the other nutrients necessary for healthy blood.
If you are anemic, then drink juices rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green pigment in plants (called the "blood" of plants). Chlorophyll has almost the exact same chemical makeup of hemoglobin (less one iron molecule), both are responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. Since the chemical makeup is almost identical, chlorophyll can quickly and easily be converted to hemoglobin. If the juices are rich in organic iron, then you have all the qualities for a blood transfusion. For example, the fresh organic juice of carrots, beets and beet greens dramatically increases the red blood cell count in the body. Dark leafy vegetables and especially They have extraordinary blood-building properties.
Other foods that contain iron are asparagus, bananas, beets, dulse, kelp, whole grains (esp. millet & kamut), leafy greens, raisins, parsley, peas, plums, squash, prunes, purple grapes, broccoli, and yams.
Things to Avoid:
All inorganic supplemental forms of iron; none of the iron supplements use organic iron, so you cannot absorb any of it and it gets pissed away or lodged in your tissues where it can cause disease.
Caffeine and tannins (in tea), and calcium inhibit iron absorption. So, avoid coffee and tea.
Beer, candy bars, dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, etc...), and soft drinks. Additives in these foods interfere with the absorption of iron.
Foods containing oxalic acids inhibit the absorption of iron. Eat only in moderate amounts; almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, soda, and most nuts and beans.
1) James F. Balch, M.D, Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C, "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," (1997)
2) Anderson, B. et al. The iron and zinc status of long-term vegetarian women. Am J of Clin Nutr v.34 (6),(1981):p.1042-1048.
3) Draper, A. & Wheeler, E. The diet and food choice of vegetarians in Greater London.