Iron Saturation Low – What are the causes?

Iron is a vital component of blood. Its existence is what gives blood its red color. It plays a vital role of formation of hemoglobin as well as other enzymes of blood. Hemoglobin is used to carry oxygen to the varied tissues and organs of the body. When there is proper storage of iron in the body, the immune system stays strong.

Low levels of iron in the body will lead to lots of undesirable conditions. In addition, very high contents of iron in the body, more than the required limit in the body, can also be detrimental. Laboratory tests will aid in detecting the serum iron, among other tests of iron that will affirm the underlying causes of high or low iron ratio in the human body.

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Meaning of Low Iron Saturation

Iron saturation stands for the ability of the body to bind iron or transport iron. The nutrients accrued from food are usually absorbed by the intestines. Once iron is absorbed entirely in the intestines from the consumed food, it is later on transported to other body organs with the aid of blood protein known as transferrin. When the absorption of iron is low in the intestines, it leads to a condition known as low iron saturation. High iron saturation is when the absorption of iron in the intestines is very high. The saturation of iron is usually measured in percentage.

Normal Iron Saturation – Range

The standard iron saturation for females is 10% to 45% and 15 to 50% in males.

Nonetheless, the parameters will differ slightly based on the lab carrying out the tests. Normally, most doctors will advise that a patient take the three tests together: Serum iron, iron saturation and total iron binding capacity (TIBC). When the laboratory tests show low levels of serum iron and low levels of iron saturation, it shows that one suffers iron deficiency anemia.


Low Levels of Iron In Blood- Symptoms and Causes

The intestines will usually absorb all the iron-containing food that is eaten. When the food does not have iron, no iron will be absorbed in the body. In such a case, you will suffer from the iron deficiency disorder called anemia.

Most of the vegetarians are prone to iron deficiency for the above reason. Another vital cause of low iron saturation is when there is a problem in the intestines. Iron deficiency anemia can also be caused by most of the intestinal disorders. Blood loss because of hemorrhoids and parasitic infestations can also lead to low levels of iron in blood.

Too much flow of blood in women during menstruation is a general cause of anemia. Another most common cause of anemia in women is pregnancy.

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Some of the symptoms that are linked to low saturation of blood in blood include:

  • Breathlessness on exertion
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin and face
  • Headaches
  • Sore tongue
  • Low blood pressure.


Low Iron Deficiency – Detection and Diagnosis

Some of the tests that are mostly used in detecting deficiency of iron include:

  • Hemoglobin- The protein containing iron in blood that ferries oxygen and iron to body cells
  • Hematocrit – Offers the percentage measure of red blood cells of blood
  • Serum ferritin – Indicates the amount of stored iron in the human body
  • Iron binding and serum iron capacity
  • Some other tests include:
  • Zinc protoporphyrin
  • Reticulocyte hemoglobin content
  • A complete blood count
  • Free erythrocyte protoporphyrin.


Low Iron Saturation – Treatment

The first step to treating low iron saturation is finding the underlying cause of the problem. When this is not established first, one can take all the food and treatment recommended by the doctor and still suffer from anemia. For this condition to be corrected, one must eat a diet that is well balanced. For the saturation of iron to be normalized in the blood, an individual will have to eat foods that are rich in iron like poultry, meat, eggs and fish.  The vegetarians will also have to incorporate the foods rich in iron like apricot, beetroot, green vegetables, spinach, beans, grains, jaggery and dates.

Vitamin C plays the major role of helping in iron absorption in the body. It is therefore very vital to consume fruits that are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin B12 also helps in absorption of iron, and liver is a very rich source of this Vitamin. Some herbs like barley green, alfalfa and dandelion are very rich sources of minerals and vitamins in the body.



The elderly, children and women are more prone to iron deficiency problems. This is probably because of their diet as well as other varied hemoglobin requirements. Men will in rare occasions suffer from iron deficiency, but when they do, it is usually because of blood loss in the digestive tract, disorders affecting the absorption of iron, and in some instances, abuse of alcohol. Other than the men who are strict vegetarians, they rarely have iron deficiency as a result of dietary needs.

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