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Explainer: What's Iron Deficiency?

Iron is an essential mineral that supports necessary functions in the body, including transporting oxygen. Without enough, fatigue and other symptoms may occur.

Young woman with white writing on her face that says take iron seriously

Iron deficiency occurs when your body’s demand for the essential mineral outstrips supply. People at particular risk include women, inflammatory bowel disease sufferers and those with chronic heart failure or chronic kidney disease.

Signs that you are iron deficient can include:



  shortness of breath

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, talk with your doctor. A test result with low iron may lead to a recommendation of iron therapy.

CSL Vifor, a business unit of CSL, develops treatments for iron deficiency and promotes awareness on Iron Deficiency Day on November 26.

Why is iron so important for your health?

Iron is an essential nutrient for your body, which you get from your food. It is needed for your mental and physical health and to keep your energy levels up. Iron is present in a substance called hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Your brain needs oxygen for concentration and your muscles need oxygen for physical energy. Iron is also needed to maintain a healthy immune system, helping you to fight infections.

Are you getting enough iron?

Having the right amount of iron in your body is key for optimum health. Usually, iron from food is absorbed into your bloodstream via the small intestine, topping up the body’s iron “bank.” If the supply and demand aren’t in balance, iron deficiency can develop.