Feeling Tired? Get Your Iron Checked
You might want to pay close attention if you’ve been feeling a little tired recently. There may be a simple solution if you’ve already made sure to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and exercise moderately.
Feeling a little tired while you’re losing weight is normal. That is because losing weight means that you’re cutting back on calories, and calories in food are a measure of the energy, or fuel, that your body uses.
However, while you’re cutting back on food and calories, you’re also cutting back on the nutrients that are in food. That can lead to nutrient deficiencies, and you are at higher risk after weight loss surgery and when you are losing weight quickly. If you are feeling tired, you may be low in iron.
The Role of Iron in Your Body
Iron is an essential mineral. You need it to be healthy, and you need to get it from food and/or supplements. Iron is the part of healthy red blood cells that carries oxygen and delivers it to the cells around your body. When you do not have enough iron, you may feel tired, weak, and breathless. Exercise and daily activities can feel more difficult than usual.
Know Your Risk and Numbers
Who’s at risk for low iron? Women of child-bearing age are already at high risk before considering other factors, since they lose a significant amount of blood each month through menstruation. You’re also at risk when you’re on a diet and after weight loss surgery, since you’re not eating as much as you used to. Gastric bypass and duodenal switch patients are at especially high risk, since
When to Get Checked
It’s worth getting checked if you are in a high-risk group for iron deficiency or if you have any of the symptoms of anemia. All it takes is a simple blood test that your doctor can order for you. You might be low in iron if your blood test results show low values for hematocrit or red blood cell count, hemoglobin, or ferritin.
An Iron-Rich Diet to Prevent Anemia and Keep Iron Stores Up
Plenty of foods are high in iron. Choosing some of these foods first when creating your meal plan can help you keep your iron stores up. Red meat and other animal proteins such as poultry and seafood are good sources. Beans and green vegetables can also contribute to your iron intake. You can boost your intake by adding iron-rich sources to meals such as BariatricPal entrees. For example, add extra spinach to a Protein Omelet, or heat up some leftover lean ground beef in some Protein Soup.
Supplements to Fight Anemia
An iron-rich diet may not be enough to get your iron stores back up once they’re low. You probably need iron supplements. Your doctor may also suggest supplements to prevent an iron deficiency if you have risk factors such as an upcoming weight loss surgery.
At The BariatricPal Store, you can find iron supplements in many forms.
-As part of a multivitamin in liquid, patch, chewable, or capsule form.
-On its own in liquid, patch, chewable, or capsule form.
Be sure to ask your doctor how much you should take, and when to take it each day.
Low energy is a drag when you’re trying to lose weight, and the culprit may be low iron. Get your numbers checked, pay attention to your diet, and use a supplement if your doctor recommends it, and you can expect to feel better within weeks.
- Alex Brecher