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Iron and Fertility
a sponsored blog by Cathy Carlson Rink, ND, RM, June 3, 2011
Iron deficiency is the No. 1 deficiency for women in the world, and few women are aware of iron's connection with infertility and pregnancy complications. From the first period (menarche) to the last period (menopause), a woman’s iron level is determined by the loss of the mineral during menstruation and pregnancy.
Adequate iron Needed for Fertility
Research shows only one in five fertile women starts her pregnancy with adequate iron levels. Women’s iron requirements double during pregnancy and, without proper diet and effective supplementation, iron stores can drop and continue to decline with each subsequent pregnancy. The key is to prevent the problem in the first place with adequate dietary intake and safe iron supplementation.
Adequate iron is needed for optimum fertility, proper placental development at the time of conception, efficient oxygen delivery to the baby, brain development in the baby, and formation of iron stores for the baby’s first six months of life. Iron deficiency in pregnancy is linked with infertility, miscarriage, low birth weight babies, preterm labor, postpartum depression and iron deficiency in infants.
Plant-based iron foods and iron supplements were also shown to decrease infertility. (It’s important to note that the same findings don’t apply to iron from red meat). This Nurse’s Health study showed that women who took plant–based iron supplements have a 40 percent reduction in infertility related to ovulation. Iron is needed to make estrogen and progesterone, essential for normal ovulation. In a study on unexplained infertility it was found that those women with iron levels (measured by serum ferritin) below 40 ug/l had a harder time conceiving.
Planning a pregnancy should include making sure you have adequate iron stores. Fertile women planning a pregnancy should have iron stores of 40–70 ug/l. If adequate stores are not present, low-dose supplementation is indicated.
Research shows 20 mg per day of iron helps prevent four out of five women from developing an iron deficiency. If you are in your childbearing years, it makes sense to add iron as part of your daily prevention routine.
For the last 15 years, I have recommended Floradix Iron and Herbs. The Heidelberg Women’s University study found that Floradix Liquid Iron and Herbs was effective in normalizing low ferritin levels, and 90 percent of participants were able to take it without side effects, including constipation.
In a study on pregnant women taking liquid iron gluconate, it was found that less iron was required to be effective in treating iron deficiency and anemia vs. solid preparations. It was better tolerated without the side effects of digestive upset.
Each raw ingredient in Floradix is tested for pesticide residues, radiation, heavy metals and microbe contamination. No alcohol, artificial colorings or chemical preservatives are added. Herbs are grown at the Salus certified organic farm in Chile or ethically wild crafted.