Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tony Graduates and All About Iron

My son, Tony, recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.  To say I am a proud mother is an understatement.



When Tony was in high school he was an unhappy, overweight young man.  While in his junior year of high school he made the life changing decision to research nutrition and exercise.  He designed a diet and exercise program and in less than a year he lost 85 pounds.  Here he is 5 years later, lean and fit, and ready to embark on a career that he hopes will inspire and educate others.


Oh, and he's engaged to a beautiful, compassionate and wonderful nurse.  I am blessed and I thank God every day for guiding Tony along this path.


Tony still has a few hurdles to leap - before he can become licensed, he has to complete a Dietetic Internship.  Right now he's applying for several.  The selection process is highly competitive and less than 50% of the applicants get placed each year.  He won't find out anything until April.  In the meantime, he's studying so he can take the DTR exam sometime in the coming weeks. "Dietetic Technicians - Registered" would be another skill he can add to his resume and will hopefully help him find some work in his field while he is completing an internship.  He has a lot on his plate but he's confident and focused.

He is also working with The Visual Veggies Software company.  He has partnered with them to test their DTR Exam preparation software.  He will be using their program to study for his DTR exam and will then write an unbiased review on the software.  I think it's an excellent opportunity for him and I know he will give his fair and honest opinion.

The folks over at Visual Veggies asked him to write a couple of blog posts so they could see his work.  I'm going to share one with you today......


Can Iron Give You More Energy?

One of the most common complaints I hear is that “I have no energy”.  Most people attribute this to long work hours, lack of sleep, and/or extracurricular activities.  The problem, however, may be related mostly to ones diet.  Many dietary deficiencies can cause someone to feel that he/she has “no energy”, but the deficiency I will be talking about today is iron deficiency.

What Is The Role Of Iron In The Body?

The primary role of iron is to help make the protein hemoglobin, which is responsible for the delivery of oxygen to the tissues of the body and removal of carbon dioxide.  Without iron hemoglobin cannot be made and, therefore, the exchange of these two gasses cannot occur.  When oxygen transport becomes inhibited, because dietary iron is lacking, it can cause people to feel fatigued, short of breath, dizzy, have frequent headaches, and have many other symptoms.

I'm sure most people would say that oxygen is important.  Like really important.  So its easy to see why iron is essential for our bodies.  

Sources of Iron

The best sources of iron are meat (beef and lamb), chicken liver, seafood (especially clams and oysters), pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and lentils, whole grain products, tofu, and dark chocolate (We finally have an excuse to eat chocolate).

I should note that iron from meat, chicken, and seafood is absorbed better than iron from other sources, but that's a topic for another time.


How Much Iron Do I Need?

The amount of iron that each individual needs changes throughout life depending on age, medical conditions, pregnancy, and other factors. The chart below sums up how much iron is needed by most individuals very well.

**Credit for the chart: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/


Considerations

Certain foods and substances do inhibit the absorption of iron when consumed with iron containing foods and supplements.  Calcium, wine, coffee, and tea have all been shown to inhibit the absorption of iron1.  Not all the iron you consume with these substances will be negated, but enough absorption will be inhibited to make a difference in the long run.  It may be beneficial to plan your iron containing meals around your morning coffee, afternoon tea, and/or evening glass of wine (or two).


A recent study indicated that as many as 10 million Americans are iron deficient and that 5 million of those people have iron deficiency anemia (a very severe form of iron deficiency)2.  So if you are experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency it could be worth your time to see your doctor to have your iron status tested.

Do I Need An Iron Supplement?

Most people without iron deficiency anemia will not need an iron supplement to keep their iron status within normal ranges.  This can be done by including a variety of iron containing foods in your diet.  Consuming iron supplements has been indicated to cause a great deal of GI complications so the consumption of an iron supplement should be supervised by a doctor and/or dietitian.


References

1. Hurrell R, Egli I. Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. Am J ClinNutr 91: 1461S–1467S, 2010.


2. Miller JL. Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Common and Curable Disease. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. 2013;3(7):a011866. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a011866.


22 comments:

  1. Congrats to your son! Here's hoping he lands a good internship.

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  2. Congratulation to your son and his proud mother

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  3. Very interesting article about iron and its importance in your diet.

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    1. I thought it was too. He has one on fiber coming up next.

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  4. Congratulations to Tony!!
    I found his post VERY interesting, since I have a problem with my hemoglobin always being low. I am on B-12 shots, because taking iron plays havoc with the Crohn's disease. I will pay more attention to my diet, and see if that will help.
    Thank you, Kim AND Tony!!
    Debbie
    xo

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    1. You're welcome. My hemoglobin is always low too. Tony has been helping me with my diet.

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  5. Doing the happy dance for Tony! Congratulations for a job well done,you all look fantastic,hugs all around!
    Dianne

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    1. Thanks Diane. Hope all is well with you. How is that gorgeous grand daughter?

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  6. That was really well written and gave all you would to know very quickly and concisely. Congrats to him on his graduation and his weight loss. It will certainly be the nutritional communities loss if he doesn't get an internship.

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    1. Thank you so much. Tony said that was exactly how he wanted to present this information and you confirmed that he reached his goal. We appreciate you leaving that comment.

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  7. Congrats to all y'all! (Sure, and Tony could have done it on his own, but it's that much richer with your support.)
    I'm thinking, because he made such a personal transformation, his advice will be more credible to another who's just starting their journey to wellness. Yay!

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    1. Thanks Myra. I think that definitely gives him an edge because he has such insight into the problem because he lived it. xo

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  8. Congratulations to your son and to you for raising him to be the man he is! :o)

    Tania

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    1. Thanks Tania. I am very proud of him. He works hard and has a great work ethic.

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  9. Hi Kim,
    That's an amazing story about your son, he has worked very hard and it shows!
    There will be more hard work ahead but it will be so worth it for him to so something that he is passionate about! And with his story it will be so relatable to others.
    Have a wonderful weekend! Hugs! Kimberley

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    1. Thanks Kimberley. He really enjoys this field, so its a good fit for him. He hopes to one day teach nutrition at a college. Enjoy your weekend. xo

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  10. Congratulations to your son! I know you are a proud mom! WOnderful article on iron. I have struggled with anemia off and on all my life so this was all familiar to me, but such a great article for people who don't know understand how important it is to consume enough iron. I hope he is in the 50% that get placement in the program! Fingers crossed for him. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Vicky. We are hoping and praying. You have a great week too. xo

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  11. Congratulations Tony! What a great accomplishment! I know you are proud...and rightfully so! I'm very happy for him and his sweetheart too. Thanks for the info and for the post on fiber today. I woke up thinking about you my friend. Sweet hugs, Diane

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  12. Congratulations to Tony! You must be so proud of all he has done. Have a great week!

    xo Dianne

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