Iron is needed by the body to make hemoglobin, which is the component in red blood cells which carries oxygen to each cell; oxygen is required for all bodily functions, particularly energy.

Iron deficiency leads to feeling tired, lack of endurance, a pale complexion, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches and depression.

The birth control pill causes a decrease in vitamin B12 and other vitamins. It also prohibits iron absorption. If you were on the pill at conception you will need to take an iron supplement throughout your pregnancy.

The recommended intake of iron for pregnant and lactating women is 20 mg. per day. The approximate iron content of several high iron foods is as follows:

1/2 cup dried apricots – 4.1 mg.                                                           1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses – 3.2 mg.
4 oz. dried prunes – 3.8 mg.                                                                  3 oz. red meat – 2.0 mg.
1 cup prune juice – 10.5 mg.                                                                  2 eggs – 2.3 mg.
1/4 cup wheat germ – 2.5 mg.

Other foods high in iron include:
– Whole wheat products
– Dark green leafy vegetables; e.g. spinach, mustard, turnip and collard greens.

Iron absorption is optimal in chelated form. Several factors must be present for chelation to take place in the stomach:
1. Minerals (iron) and protein must be taken at the same time.
2. Adequate digestive acids must be present to ionize the mineral (split into base minerals) and to
break down the proteins into amino acids. The hydrochloric acid of the stomach is ideal. Proteins increase the production of acids and sugar neutralizes it.
3. The amino acids build a “cover” around the mineral and forms an easily absorbed molecule which is
not repelled by the negative charge of the small intestine, and thus passes easily through the intestinal wall. Therefore, an abundance of amino acids (protein) is essential.

Note that chelated minerals are absorbed up to 10 times the rate of non-chelates. It is preferable to take a multiple mineral chelate to avoid upsetting the balance of the body.

Recommendations for taking iron:
1. Take chelated iron, 75-90 mg. with 250 mg. of Vitamin C. Vitamin C doubles the
absorption of iron. Floridex liquid is a nonconstipating alternative.
2. Before meals to avoid an upset stomach.
3. Take with a handful of nuts or a glass of juice.
4. Keep in mind that sugar neutralizes hydrochloric acid and protein stimulates its production. 5. Floradix Iron: Comes in regular and GF. Rich in Fe and B-Vitamins. Easily absorbed.

Tips: Cooking in a cast iron pot is one way of adding iron to your diet. Be careful about what you cook in it though, as the iron casting causes the destruction of Vitamin C.