The trace element iron is a real all-rounder. If we suffer from a deficiency, this can lead to chronic fatigue, loss of performance or concentration problems, to name just a few negative effects. Especially (young) women can sing a song about it, because due to the monthly blood loss, the risk of a deficiency is significantly higher for them. But vegetarians and vegans can also be affected. Furthermore, the need is also higher in pregnant women, adolescents and athletes.
Possible causes of iron deficiency
As already mentioned, menstruation, especially if it is very heavy, can lead to a deficiency. But also unnoticed blood loss, e.g. in the gastrointestinal tract, or very frequent blood donations are a possible cause. Often a problematic diet also leads to a deficiency. Another reason is the intestinal situation: If the intestinal flora is disturbed and the intestinal mucosa is inflamed, iron (and also other vital substances) cannot be absorbed optimally. In this case, the intestine would first have to be put in order with an intestinal reorganization. A lack of gastric acid can also lead to a lack of vital substances and iron, because only with sufficient gastric acid can the food be properly broken down and the vitamins and minerals later absorbed in the intestine. Finally, it should be noted that quite a few drugs are real iron robbers. The iron inhibitors among the drugs include, for example, acetylsalicylic acid, gastric acid blockers and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Clarifying an iron deficiency
To clarify an iron deficiency, the serum ferritin (storage iron) in the blood should be measured. If this value is below 30 µg/l in men and below 15 µg/l in women, the condition is referred to as storage iron deficiency. However, measuring the Hb value alone is not informative; it only drops when the iron stores are empty and for this reason sufficient red blood cells can no longer be produced. If the Hb value falls below the threshold value (women 12.0 g/dl, men 13.0 g/dl), an iron deficiency anemia requiring therapy is present.
In most cases, those affected by iron deficiency do not succeed in remedying the deficiency through diet alone. Common iron supplements are often not well tolerated and can lead to digestive problems. However, there are also natural iron preparations, e.g. from the very iron-rich curry leaf. They are highly concentrated and provide pure plant iron with very high bioavailability. Curry leaf iron is not only better absorbed than a conventional iron preparation, but is also much more tolerable. Microencapsulated iron is also often better absorbed.
Curry leaf is not to be confused with the curry we know (spice mixture). The curry tree (Bergera koenigii or Murraya koenigii) is a plant species that belongs to the rue family and thrives in tropical and subtropical Asia. The leaves are mainly used in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, where they are very popular.