High prevalence of low iron counts
Over 30% of all fertile women worldwide (even higher prevalence among teenagers and in the developing countries), especially those with menstruation for more than three days, have a latent anemia with increased uptake of cadmium instead of iron.Cadmium replaces calcium in bones and increases the risk for osteoporosis later in life. In addition, latent iron deficiency and subacute anaemia have many well-documented negative effects. For example, decreasing the prospective mother's quality of life considerably and may even lead to lifelong impact on the baby. Growing young with low iron values could permanently suffer from neural development damage and reduced learning ability.
We are dealing with a society- and individual related problem on a large scale when it comes to female iron deficiency due to menstruational bleeding. The WHO regards anaemias and related conditions the second largest health problem after infections.
The regular iron supplements today are synthetic and often produce gastrointestinal side-effects which in many cases terminate the important therapy.
Modern women often eat a varied diet and lives healthily. Despite this iron deficiency is more common today than 50 years ago. This is mainly because women eat less in total and comparatively less heme iron.
There are two kinds of dietary iron: the inorganic iron found in vegetables and as enrichment or supplements and organic iron also known as hemoglobin or heme iron, found in meat courses. Women of today eat less meat and more vegetables and thus get less heme iron than before.
In developing countries every second pregnant woman and about 40% of preschool children are estimated to be anaemic. In many developing countries, iron deficiency anaemia is aggravated by worm infections, malaria and other infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. The major health consequences include poor pregnancy outcome, impaired physical and cognitive development, increased risk of morbidity in children and reduced work productivity in adults. Anaemia contributes to 20% of all maternal deaths.
Menstrual and birth loss
The average menstrual period lasts anywhere from two to five days. Blood loss during this time is estimated to be as little as one ounce—a light or average period—and as much as 1 cup— a heavy period. The amount of blood lost during childbirth is about 500cc (about a pint) or approximately two cups of blood. Thereby 200–250 milligrams of iron is lost. In addition, the iron contained in the newborn baby's blood and tissues contain another 500-800 milligrams of iron which originally came from the mother. A woman's natural iron regulatory system takes care to increase absorption of iron from her diet during these times of blood loss. Her normal absorption rate of 1 milligram is stepped up to 1.5–3 milligrams per day—the female body's natural response to blood loss.
Chronic diseasesChronic diseases
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Iron AbsoptionIron Absoption
Iron DeficiencyIron Deficiency
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WHAT THE DOCTORS HAVE TO SAY
I have a number of patients that have taken heme iron preparations for years. They have kept a satisfactory iron balance without the unfortunately all-too-common side effects that are often associated with iron preparations.
Dietary-based treatment containing heme iron has few side effects and can be used efficiently to improve the iron status of women of reproductive age.