Deficiency of Iron

Iron deficiency in the food results in the disease called ANAEMIA. In anaemia the hemoglobin content in the red blood cells of the person decreases. The amount of hemoglobin in the blood is an indication of the amount of iron available in the body. So a deficiency of iron in the diet results in the deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood.

Anaemia occurs in persons of all age groups, however, all pregnant and nursing mothers, infants and young children are especially affected. Anaemia is more common in women than in men, this is because of blood losses during menstruation.

The function of hemoglobin in the red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the body cells and to carry carbon dioxide from the cells to the lungs. So in person suffering from anaemia not enough oxygen is supplied to the body cells which are needed for oxidation of food and production of energy.

A person suffering from anaemia shows the following symptoms.


(i) A person suffering from anaemia gets tried to early.

(ii) The person looks pale and loses weight.

(iii) The person loses appetite.

Besides deficiency of iron in the diet another cause of anaemia is the deficiency of vitamin B12 which helps in the growth of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Therefore, foods which are rich in vitamin B12 and iron are good for patients suffering from anaemia. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods (Meat, eggs, milk, and liver). Therefore, strict vegetarians should take more milk and milk products to avoid deficiency of vitamin B12.


Hook worm infestation is another important cause of iron loss. The loss of iron from the skin through sweating is also common. So the causes of iron deficient anaemia are multiple and not simply the low intake of iron in the food. Once anaemia has developed, it can rarely be corrected by dietary intake of iron only. For this iron tablets are prescribed by the doctor which contains iron sulphate and free iron.