Iron deficiency: endangered groups of people

There is no typical iron deficiency patient - everyone can be affected. However, in some groups the risk of iron deficiency is particularly great: women, especially in pregnancy and lactation, children and adolescents, the elderly, the chronically ill, vegetarians, endurance athletes and permanent blood donors. These should have their iron values ​​checked regularly with the doctor.


In comparison to men, women have a 50% higher demand for iron and are more at risk of developing iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstruation. Especially young women with heavy menstrual bleeding often show symptoms as their iron stores empty very quickly,

In pregnancy, the iron requirement is even higher. The growing uterus with the placenta and the unborn child need to be oxygenated; Therefore, the iron demand increases threefold. The greatest need is in the second and third trimester of pregnancy - in the last third, it is twice as high as normal at 30 milligrams.

Almost 50 percent of women of childbearing age are not optimally supplied with iron. The iron reserves should be replenished early, because a sufficient iron depot not only positively affects the general condition of the expectant mother, but also has a favorable effect on the physical and mental development of the child.

Children and adolescents

The newborn receives at birth part of the iron stock, which lasts about four months. In addition, the baby is supplied with milk via breast milk, although unfortunately milk generally contains little iron. Iron from breast milk can be used by the baby to 50 percent.

At the latest from the sixth month of life, an iron-rich Beikost be fed, because even with babies and toddlers may be an iron deficiency. Green vegetables, small portions of meat and jar filled with red fruit juices are good iron suppliers. In younger children, a long undiscovered iron deficiency anemia runs the risk of impairing brain development and cerebral maturation.

As you get older, your muscle mass and blood volume increase, and so does the need for iron. About ten percent of all children in growth suffer from iron deficiency and the typical symptoms such as tiredness, listlessness and lack of concentration. The growth spurts in schoolchildren and the onset of menstruation in young girls are the typical triggers of acute iron deficiency.


In advanced age, the individual (iron) demand can often no longer be met. Older people do not have that much appetite, the food intake is reduced accordingly and often one-sided. In addition, poorly fitting bits spoil the enjoyment of meat meals. Another reason for iron deficiency in old age is the decreased intake of iron due to disorders in the gastrointestinal tract or the side effects of drugs.


Heavy blood loss from accidents, injuries or gastrointestinal ulcers, as well as the use of painkillers or cortisone-containing medications can cause the loss of iron. People who suffer from chronic kidney disease, cystic fibrosis or gastrointestinal diseases, usually have too little iron in the blood, because it is not absorbed by the body or increased excreted.


If we eat too much meat, the risk of cancer increases, but with total abstinence we also endanger our health: vegetables, whole grains and fruits make up a healthy diet - but they do not provide enough iron to the body. Because vegetable iron, for example, in bread, vegetables, legumes and whole-grain products is poorly bioavailable, that is, the body can hardly absorb this. Animal iron, for example, from red meat, the body can better use.

Vegetarians should therefore be careful to combine herbal iron suppliers with vitamin C (for example, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice): this increases the iron intake even more. In case of doubt, iron substitution is recommended, whereby herbal blood juices or dragées with a well-usable iron-II compound have proven particularly useful. These juices are fortified with blood-forming vitamins and plant extracts, alcohol and sugar free and therefore suitable for children.

An iron cure should be done twice a year.

Permanent blood donor and endurance athlete

The blood is also used to extract iron from the body. People who donate blood on a regular basis should therefore be protected: by eating iron rich in iron or taking iron supplements.

In the case of iron, conditions are different for non-athletes than for non-athletes: During intensive training, the iron values ​​are about ten percent below normal. But even a slight deficiency lowers the performance, the athletes are tired and impotent. Athletes should seek medical attention to find the right therapy for themselves.

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