Iron Deficiency


Medifast Iron Deficiency

The most common nutritional deficiency in the world is iron.


Crucial in producing hemoglobin, this mineral helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. Without it, the entire body can suffer. Here we will explain the causes and treatments of iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency occurs when the body lacks iron. This can happen either because people need additional iron in their diet, or when the body does not absorb enough iron.

Iron plays many different roles in our body. One of the most important functions of iron is helping lungs deliver oxygen to the rest of our body. It also helps muscles to store and use oxygen. Another function of iron is assisting in the digestion of foods, as well as many other important reactions that occur in the body. Many parts of the body are affected when we lack enough iron.

Iron deficiency can affect people in all stages of life. It may cause a delay in normal activity and movement functions or normal thinking and processing skills in infants.  During pregnancy, the risk for small or preterm babies may increase. Additionally, fatigue, memory and other mental functions may occur in adults.

The most common way to test iron deficiency is the Hemoglobin test and Hematocrit test. Together, the two tests measure your blood’s ability to carry oxygen, which in turn reveals how much iron you have to carry out that task.

To remedy iron deficiency, it is generally recommended that you take iron supplements or eat more iron-rich foods. However, there are non-diet-related causes for deficiency, so it is important to get diagnosed by a health professional.

It is important to eat a healthy diet that includes good sources of iron when combatting iron deficiency. An iron-rich diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. Combining iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C can enhance absorption, while coffee, tea, and milk products can interfere with iron absorption. This diet can also be low in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.


Sumi Tohan, RDN, LDN

Author: Sumi Tohan, RDN, LDN

Sumi Tohan, RDN, LDN, is a corporate dietitian with Medifast. She received her bachelor’s degree from Penn State and completed her dietetic internship through the Virginia Department of Health with a focus in public health nutrition. She has experience in health promotion and disease prevention through WIC. After receiving her Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management, she decided to become involved in the treatment of overweight and obesity. She loves being a Marylander thanks to Berger cookies and Crab Chips. She favors hiking with her Jack Russell Terrier, Jacques, and bargain shopping over the gym.

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