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Do We Really Need Iron Supplements?

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in both developing and industrialized nations. The World Health Organization estimates that 2 billion people are anemic. Iron deficiency occurs when the body's demand for iron exceeds its supply. Although many factors can contribute to iron depletion, the leading cause in children and women is insufficient dietary intake.

Iron deficiency can be divided into three stages: early, latent, and anemic. Each stage has distinct physical characteristics. 

Stage 1: Storage depletion happens when the blood ferritin levels become low. Ferritin is the storage form of iron. Lower ferritin levels are the first sign of an iron deficiency.

Stage 2: The transport iron becomes lower during the second stage of iron deficiency. Even though the hemoglobin stays intact, the size of the red blood cell reduces.

Stage 3: Iron deficiency anemia (IDA):

This is the most severe stage of iron deficiency and can lead to anemia if left untreated. Identifying the early signs of iron deficiency is essential, as it allows you to get ahead of the problem.

Symptoms in this third stage include a fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, lightheadedness, inability to maintain normal body temperature, and breathing problems.