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Iron Deficiency in Teenagers

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 17 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Iron; Red Blood Cells; Oxygen; Food; Red

What Is Iron?

Iron is a substance that is essential to humans and is a valuable protein ion the blood. It is taken from food sources and used in the body every day. A deficiency of iron can be very dangerous and put health at risk.

Not only must the levels of iron taken from dietary sources be adequate, the amount of other substances must also be satisfactory in order for the iron to be absorbed.

Vitamin C is extremely important in the increase of iron absorption so it is essential that a balanced diet containing all the required elements is taken is order to allow the breakdown and absorption of all the required vitamins and minerals.

Why is a Deficiency Dangerous?

If the levels of iron in the body become too low there is a danger to health. Iron is needed in the blood to ensure a healthy level of red blood cells is present. These cells are essential for carrying oxygen around the body.

When the amount of red blood cells in the body becomes depleted, the amount of oxygen reaching the organs and tissues is decreased this can put the tissues and organs, including the major ones, at risk and may prevent them working properly.When this occurs it is called anaemia and the condition must be corrected before serious damage to health occurs.

Why Are Teenagers At Risk?

Teenagers are at risk of becoming iron deficient for a number of reasons with the main one concerning their dietary needs and intake.

Teenagers are recognised for becoming increasingly aware of their body and their image and are often at risk of feeling pressured into extreme dieting and exercise in order to achieve the body they long for.By not eating properly or eating the wrong the diet they are in danger of becoming iron deficient.

Also concerning diet is the increase in the wrong types of foods often consumed by teenagers.Snacking and fast foods often do not provide adequate nutrients and goodness that the body needs particularly during the teenage years when there are a lot of physical, mental and emotional changes occurring requiring the body to use up additional sources of vitamins and minerals.

The growing body needs more than the usually amounts of iron in order to produce healthy bones and muscles and teenage girls who have just started their periods are the most at risk as often their fast lifestyle, poor diet and monthly loss of blood causes their iron supplies to become extremely low.

Improving Iron Levels

The easiest and most healthy way of improving the amount of iron in the body is to make sure a good balanced diet is taken every day.Red meats are excellent for providing a good amount of the type of iron needed for red blood cell formation and this can be taken a few times a week along with several portions of dark green leafy vegetables which are also good sources.

Many cereals and breads are now fortified with iron which is particularly good for those who like a meat free diet although this is a different type of iron than that found in animal products and often a supplement will be needed.

It is also important to remember than vitamin C is essential for the body to be able to absorb iron so kiwi fruit, orange juice, broccoli and peppers should be eaten on a daily basis also.

Iron is an essential element of life and is important for the formation of red blood cells. Without it we become anaemic and this can be dangerous.

Dietary sources are the best way of keeping iron levels healthy and prevent depletion.Teenagers can be particularly at risk of becoming deficient as their growing body requires a higher level of iron than at many other times.

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I am not sure if I have iron deficiency and I am not a vegan so I don't know what it causes it.
lb - 24-Mar-11 @ 3:38 PM
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