6 Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

6 Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Being deficient in the essential mineral iron can be a serious issue. Iron plays a major role in the creation of hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body. Catching deficiency as early as possible is important, and there are some key signs and symptoms to look out for. In this article, we’ll discuss what those signs and symptoms are and how iron supplementation can help.

Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Pay close attention to the following six symptoms if you suspect that you are iron deficient.

Excessive Fatigue

The most well-known symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue. Since hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen around the body, less hemoglobin means less oxygen gets delivered to your muscles and tissues, leaving them deprived of energy.

Since so many people lead busy lives in modern-day society, sometimes this fatigue is considered normal tiredness resulting from daily life. If your fatigue is also accompanied by weakness and some of the other symptoms described below, it’s important to check in with your doctor to get iron levels tested.

Shortness of Breath

The lack of hemoglobin and oxygen delivery due to iron deficiency can also affect your breathing. If you’re lacking iron, your breathing rate will need to increase in an attempt to get in more oxygen. If you notice shortness of breath in normal, daily activities that used to be easy, iron deficiency could be to blame.

Pale, Damaged, and Dry Skin and Hair

The blood becomes less red when hemoglobin levels are lower, as this is what gives blood its color. Pale skin that lacks its natural rosy color could be due to iron deficiency, along with a paleness to the inside of the lower eyelids and gums. Studies show that this symptom is typically more common in serious cases of iron-deficient anemia.

Along similar lines, both skin and hair can become dry and damaged (and hair loss can even occur) when the body diverts oxygen to vital bodily functions instead of hair and skin maintenance.


When headaches are accompanied by lightheadedness or dizziness and become chronic, iron deficiency could be the culprit. If not enough oxygen can reach the brain, swelling can occur and cause pressure and headaches.

Heart Palpitations

Feeling a more noticeable, faster, or irregular heartbeat (often known as heart palpitations) can also be a sign of iron-deficient anemia. These symptoms are due to the fact that the heart needs to work harder than usual in order to pump oxygen around the body. Potentially, conditions like heart murmur or even heart failure can occur, but experts agree these would only be seen in very extreme cases of iron deficiency.

Restless Legs

You might be surprised to learn about the connection between iron deficiency and restless leg syndrome, which is a condition of feeling that your legs are restless, especially at night. It can also present as an intense urge to constantly move your legs or an uncomfortable crawling sensation in the legs.

While the causes of restless leg syndrome are not completely understood, iron deficiency seems to play a role.

What To Do if You Suspect Iron Deficiency

First, check in with your doctor to get your iron levels tested. If results show a deficiency, supplementing with a whole food, naturally-derived iron source is your best option for maximum absorption. Neuterre Whole Food Iron Supplements are distinct from many iron supplements that quickly release iron, which can potentially cause oxidative stress and iron overload. Instead, our iron is delivered in koji, which slowly releases the mineral into the body, leading to gentle and more effective absorption.