Iron is an essential mineral your body needs to thrive. This central component of hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to all body parts. Suppose your body is deficient in this crucial mineral does it cause weight gain?
In this case, your body will not have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen, which could lead to fatigue. As a result, you might neglect anything that has to do with exercise. This might lead you to weight gain. So iron deficiency indirectly causes weight gain.
So, does low iron cause weight gain? This article will tell you everything you need to know about the relationship between weight gain and low iron. Ensure you read until the end, so you don’t miss any crucial points.
Does Low Iron Cause Weight Gain?
Low iron can indirectly cause weight gain. Multiple studies have shown that most people who are overweight and obese usually have low iron. So, if you have exercised and followed a strict diet to lose weight but have not been successful, you keep adding weight because your body is iron deficient.
Having low iron levels in your body can cause anemia, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired. As a result, you will find it hard to exercise and be active as you used to, which can affect your ability to lose weight. So, if you gain a lot of weight within a short time and wonder what could be wrong, it could result from iron deficiency.
Can Iron Cause Weight Gain?
YES, iron can lead to weight gain, but only if it is low. If you have the recommended amount of iron in your body, then other things such as poor diet or lack of exercise could be the reason why you are gaining weight.
However, having low iron levels could lead to anemia, leading to weight gain. This is because when you suffer from anemia because of a lack of sufficient iron in your body, you become lazy and thus unable to exercise and stay active.
Your metabolism also slows down, thus slowing down your body’s ability to break down calories into energy. So, iron can affect your weight, but only if your body does not have sufficient iron.
Can Iron Supplements Help You Lose Weight?
YES, iron supplements can help you lose weight if low iron levels cause weight gain. If various tests have indicated that low iron levels cause weight gain, then taking iron supplements can help you lose weight.
Iron supplements will increase the iron levels in your body, thus lowering the risk of suffering from anemia that may make you slow and sluggish. If you are gaining weight quickly and feeling low in energy, it could result from low iron levels.
The best solution for this scenario is to take iron supplements to increase your iron level and boost your energy levels. However, before taking iron supplements, ensure that you get tested for iron deficiency and follow the doctor’s recommendation.
Don’t just take them because you have gained a lot of weight and you think it will help you lose weight. Iron supplements will only help you lose weight if your weight gain is caused by iron deficiency.
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What is Iron Deficiency?
As the name suggests, iron deficiency is not having sufficient iron in your body. The recommended amount of iron in an adult is 4g. Out of all these, 70% is found in myoglobin and hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen in red blood cells. If you lack sufficient iron in your body, you will feel tired and, in most cases, stay inactive. It can also cause multiple health problems, including anemia.
What Causes Iron Deficiency?
Now that you know what iron deficiency means, you could wonder what makes someone deficient in iron. An article published in Lancet revealed that more than one-third of people across the globe suffer from iron deficiency. Many things, including cause iron deficiency
1. Not getting enough iron in your diet.
A poor diet that does not comprise foods rich in iron can lead to iron deficiency. So, ensure your diet includes iron-rich foods, such as liver, red meat, soybeans, and beans.
2. Chronic blood loss.
Chronic blood loss can cause the loss of more red blood cells and iron, causing iron deficiency. The leading causes of blood loss include internal bleeding, heavy menstrual period, severe or long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs, regular blood donation, and urinary tract bleeding, among many others.
3. Too much exercise
Performing too much exercise can also lead to iron deficiency. This is because doing so much exercise increases your body’s iron requirement, thus depriving your body of iron. Another major cause of iron deficiency is your body’s inability to absorb iron.
Can Low Iron Levels Cause Weight Loss?
YES, low iron levels can cause unexpected weight loss. People suffering from anemia caused by low iron levels may suffer from sudden weight loss. In some cases, anemia can curb your appetite.
As a result, you will not crave foods you like and feel hungry less often than usual. Loss of appetite means that you eat less. This can lead to weight loss. So, besides causing weight gain, low iron levels can also cause weight loss.
Signs That You Are Suffering From Iron Deficiency
1. You feel exhausted all the time.
One of the top signs that you are suffering from iron deficiency is if you feel exhausted all the time. Iron deficiency usually causes less oxygen to reach your cells, thus depriving you of much-needed energy. As a result, you will feel weak and unable to focus.
2. You have a heavy period.
Another sign in women that shows the body is low on iron is if they have a heavy period. A heavy period is an indication that you are deficient in iron.
Loss of blood usually results in the loss of crucial iron. That is why most women with a heavy period typically complain of a lack of energy. So, if your period is too heavy, visit your doctor immediately for a checkup and treatment.
3. You feel short of breath.
Suppose you find yourself struggling to breathe when doing things you used to handle easily, such as climbing stairs or doing your usual workout. In that case, the chances are that you are iron deficient. Low iron levels will deprive you of oxygen, making you feel short of breath.
4. You have a severe headache.
A severe headache is another sign that you are suffering from low iron levels. When your body is oxygen-deficient, it will focus on ensuring the brain has enough oxygen.
However, the oxygen channeling to the brain will still not be enough. The lack of sufficient oxygen in the brain will cause brain arteries to swell, thus causing headaches. So, your body could be iron deficient if you have a severe headache that does not seem to end.
5. You have a craving for ice, dirt, ad clay.
If you crave ice, dirt, and clay, then that indicates that your body does not have sufficient iron. Most people, especially women, crave ice, clay, and dirt because their bodies are iron deficient.
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Is Iron Deficiency Severe?
Iron deficiency is a severe condition that needs to be addressed quickly. If left untreated, iron deficiency can cause serious complications such as – headaches,
- heart complications,
- developmental delays in children,
- pregnancy complications,
- restless leg syndrome,
- and much more.
Iron deficiency can also worsen other chronic conditions or make their treatment work poorly. So, if you are suffering from iron deficiency, ensure that you seek treatment immediately before things get out of hand.
What Happens to Your Body When You Are Low on Iron?
When your body is low in iron, you are most likely to suffer from anemia, making you feel lazy and slow. The fact that your tissues are not getting enough oxygen because of a lack of iron means that you will not have the energy you used to have to do your normal day-to-day activities as quickly as you used to.
As a result, you will feel slow, less energetic, and lazy. Most people who are iron deficient usually spend most of their time sleeping because they don’t feel like doing anything.
That is why iron deficiency is often associated with weight gain. The fact that you cannot exercise and perform your daily chores due to a lack of energy makes it easy to gain much weight quickly.
Do Iron Pills Cause Weight Gain?
No, iron pills do cause weight gain. Most people taking iron pills usually think it is making them gain a lot of weight. However, that is not usually the case. Iron pills don’t contain any kilojoules, meaning they don’t play any role in your weight gain.
You are gaining weight while taking iron pills because you are deficient in iron, making you gain a lot of weight. As said earlier, insufficient iron makes you slow and inactive, making you gain a lot of weight within a short time.
People take iron pills because they want to boost the iron content in their bodies. You may acquire a lot of weight when taking iron pills because your body is low in iron.
Does Iron Deficiency Affect The Skin?
Iron is a crucial mineral that helps in the production of hemoglobin. It also helps optimize the skin wound healing function and minimize the appearance of bruises.
So, if your body lacks sufficient iron, your skin may look paler. When your body is low in iron, cells that enhance your skin health will not get enough oxygen.
As a result, you are more likely to suffer from rashes and other skin problems. You will also be at risk of experiencing dry and itchy skin. It will also take longer to heal from skin-related diseases.
Iron plays a crucial role in the production of hemoglobin. If you are deficient in iron, then know that you are at risk of gaining weight. Suppose your body does not have sufficient iron.
In that case, your tissues will not have an adequate supply of oxygen, making you less energetic and lazy. As a result, you are more likely to gain weight, especially if you don’t watch your diet.
So, if you have gained a lot of weight within a brief period and are wondering what the problem could be, then the culprit could be low iron levels. Visit your doctor for iron tests and if that is the problem, start taking iron pills or supplements as directed by your doctor.
Iron supplements will help boost your body’s iron and energy levels, thus preventing you from gaining weight. You can also increase your iron content by eating foods rich in iron, such as liver, red meat, soybeans, beans, and much more.
However, you should not take iron pills and supplements simply because you have gained much weight quickly. You should only take supplements if you are iron deficient and under the doctor’s recommendations.