Could Your Iron Deficiency Be Causing Your Anxiety?
Have you noticed lately that you have been suffering from low iron? Or have you noticed that you have been suffering from anxiety? Or have you been really paying attention and seem to notice that you’ve been suffering from both?
Perhaps it’s no coincidence the two are happening at the same time.
What are the Signs of Having an Iron Deficiency?
There is a fascinating symptom of iron deficiency without having anemia, which is craving ice, the medical term, pagophagia.
The common signs of iron deficiency and anemia are:
- Sensitivity to cold/having cold hands and feet
- Restless leg syndrome
- Heavy periods
- Brain fog
- Short attention span
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Hair loss
- Depression and anxiety
When you do discover you have an iron deficiency, please make sure you are properly medically taken care of and get the blood work necessary and discuss other issues such as heavy periods, digestive issues, chronic infections, etc.
How Iron Deficiency Causes Anxiety
Anemia affects 5-10% of the population, with many convincing themselves they have it thinking it is hard for them to believe their symptoms could be caused by anxiety. When you have an iron deficiency it can cause anxiety as a symptom, which places your body under a lot of stress, sending messages to your brain to become more anxious. Your brain might not get enough healthy blood, and the symptoms of anxiety (like heart palpitations) can cause anxiousness on their own.
Therefore, someone can be iron deficient, and have it lead to more anxiety; and someone can have symptoms of iron deficiency and living with the symptoms of it develop their anxiety disorder because of the manner in which the symptoms trigger stress.
Breaking the Link
Iron deficiency is a physical health issue, even if your anxiety is caused by it. One of the most important things you can do is start taking care of it through talking to your medical professional for treatment options and dietary advice. Vitamin supplements like magnesium, iron, and B12 with healthy eating habits are the best ways to nip iron deficiency in the bud (with the advice of professionals of course). Eating healthier in general has the same effect on your anxiety as well, so making sure you are getting the right amount of nutrients daily will help here too.
When you are diagnosed with anxiety, it is difficult to control it without help. Even if the cause was your iron deficiency, you will still need to learn coping mechanisms for your anxious reactions that may have developed as a result.
When we are anxious, we move into a “fight-or flight” state. In this state, the blood is redirected from the digestive system to other areas of the body, leaving the person with an arrested digestive system.
A person living with anxiety is in a fight-or-flight state often. When the digestive system is not working optimally it can make it harder to absorb iron in foods or supplements. The state of health in your gut is directly linked to the brain, suggesting that if the gut flora (or alternatively called gut microbiome) isn’t at it’s best, it can also lead to increased anxiety, brain fog, and iron deficiency.
At Healing Soul Hypnosis, I can help you with your anxiety needs whether or not it was caused by an iron deficiency. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to book a session, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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