Iron & Zinc

Iron For Women – Zinc for Men

Iron-Rich-FoodsWomen are Iron-Ignorant  – Are you huffing and puffing when you run up the stairs? It may not be because you’re out of shape… It could be because you’re anemic!  Unfortunately, women are often unknowingly anemic from iron deficiency anemia. Did you know that women need 15-18 mg of iron daily?  That’s right, menstruating women need about 30% more iron than men. Where and how are you getting your iron?  Are you planning meals around your need for iron?  Generally plant based foods are not high sources of iron and they are not an effective way to raise ferritin levels quickly.  Supplementation may be necessary to raise iron levels within several months.  I am particularly interested in anemia because of my own experience with this deficiency.  Don’t wait until your hair falls out to find out that you’re anemic!!

Women Generally Don’t Know About Ferritin Levels – Most women do not know their own ferritin levels and do not keep copies of their own blood tests.  Ferritin is a blood iron protein that stores iron for future use.  That means on a day when your iron consumption is lower than your requirement, your body takes it from your ferritin stores.  But what happens when those stores run out? Iron deficiency anemia is common among vegetarian women, women with low stomach acid, and women who lose excessive amounts of blood. Once a woman is low in iron, it is often a slow and lengthy process to bring ferritin levels back up to a healthy level. I encourage women to get copies of all blood tests ordered by their doctor (it’s your legal right to have copies) learn what their ferritin level is, and bring copies of their lab report to their appointments with me.  Better yet, it you suspect your iron levels might be low, ask your doctor for a ferritin test.

Zinc is an important mineral required for optimal health for both women and men.  But for men, zinc is very important for prostate health.  Studies show that a diet high in zinc helps prevent Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, this is a common problem that can really annoy men by interfering with normal urination.  It can also cause bladder and kidney problems.  Zinc helps inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which can cause problems in the prostate (inflammation) and hair follicles (balding).  DHT is a very potent form of testosterone which has a very strong affinity for androgen receptors.  It is natural for a man to produce a small amount of this hormone, however, adequate zinc levels help keep this contentious hormone in check.

Like breast cancer, prostate cancer is a serious problem.  Every year thousands of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and many will die from it.  It is very important for men to maintain a healthy diet containing fish, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, some soy, and vegetables high in carotenoids.  In addition certain supplements are also helpful including flaxseed oil and vitamin E.  Men are often hesitate to talk about this part of their body.  It’s so important for men to make sure they seek help before it becomes too late.

4 Responses to Iron & Zinc

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