Iron deficiency impairs your brain

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Almost 80% of the global population is iron deficient and up to 30% is anaemic, contributing to mild cognitive impairment, according to research.

An extensive German study of almost 5 000 participants found those with iron deficiency anaemia (extreme iron deficiency) performed worse in memory and other brain functions than non-anaemic subjects.

“Participants with anaemia…showed lower performances in verbal memory and executive functions. Furthermore, mild cognitive impairment occurred almost twice more often in participants diagnosed with anaemia,” noted the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Researchers concluded that treating iron-deficiency anaemia may counter cognitive decline. The World Health Organisation (WHO), which describes iron deficiency as the most widespread nutritional disorder on the globe, says treatment may improve productivity levels by 20%.

Iron is vital for producing haemoglobin which helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Low iron levels may arise from poor diet, extensive blood loss, inadequate iron absorption and pregnancy. Deficiency leads to fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, dry throat and mouth, food cravings, brittle hair and nails and pale skin.

Pharmacist, health expert and life coach, Giulia Criscuolo, says the solution is eating iron-rich foods and supplementing with natural iron-rich water as an alternative to conventional pills which have a low absorption rate and often cause constipation, headaches and nausea.

Criscuolo recommends intake of the following:

  • Organic red meat and poultry such as beef, chicken or lamb
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, pilchards or mackerel
  • Eggs
  • Dried beans such as lima, lentils or kidney and legumes
  • Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli
  • Wholegrains such as brown rice or quinoa
  • Spatone, a naturally occurring iron-rich mineral water proven to have 40% more absorption than tablets. It is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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