Food Sources of Iron:

  • Almonds
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Beets (and greens)
  • Black cherries
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Broccoli, raw
  • Cereals
  • Chicken
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cod
  • Dates
  • Dried fruit
  • Dulse
  • Eggs
  • Enriched breads
  • Fish
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Haddock
  • Kelp
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Liver
  • Meat
  • Millet
  • Offal
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peas, fresh, cooked
  • Poultry
  • Prunes (dried)
  • Pumpkins
  • Raisins
  • Rice and wheat bran
  • Sesame seeds
  • Shellfish
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach, raw, chopped
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Turkey
  • Watercress
  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains  

Herb Sources of Iron:

  • Alfalfa
  • Burdock root
  • Catnip
  • Cayenne
  • Chamomile
  • Chickweed
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion
  • Dong Quai
  • Eyebright
  • Fennel seed
  • Fenugreek
  • Horsetail
  • Kelp
  • Lemongrass
  • Licorice
  • Milk thistle seed
  • Mullein
  • Nettle
  • Oat straw
  • Oysters
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Plantain
  • Raspberry leaf
  • Rose hips
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Shepherd’s purse
  • Uva ursi
  • Yellow dock  

Other Sources of Iron– Brand Names

  • Acidic foods (such as tomato sauce) cooked in an iron pan can also be a source of dietary iron
  • Ferrofood – Standard Process Labs.
  • Liquid chlorophyll (Chlorophyll Complex)
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Fluor-Essence Liquid Iron Supplement  

Signs of Iron Deficiency: 

  • Anemia
  • Angular stomatitis
  • Anorexia
  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Dysphagia
  • Fatigue
  • Fragile bone
  • Growth retardation
  • Headaches
  • Ice eating (pica)
  • Inflammation of the tissues of the mouth
  • Irritability
  • Nails that are spoon-shaped or have ridges running lengthwise
  • Nervousness
  • Obesity
  • Pallor
  • Palpitations
  • Slowed mental reactions  

Health Concerns – What Iron is used for:

  • Athletic performance (for iron-deficiency anemia only)
  • Celiac disease
  • Canker sores
  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV support
  • Infertility (female)
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Menorrhagia  (heavy menstruation)
  • Restless leg syndrome  

What Iron does: 

  • Energy production
  • Essential for many enzymes
  • Important for growth
  • Oxygenation of red blood cells
  • Production of hemoglobin and myoglobin (the form of hemoglobin found in muscle tissue)
  • Required for a healthy immune system  

Cautions & Comments About Iron: 

  • Because iron is stored in the body, excessive iron intake can cause problems.  Too much iron in the tissues and organs leads to the production of free radicals and increases the need for vitamin e.  High levels of iron have also been found in association with heart disease and cancer.
  • Do not take iron supplements if you have an infection.
  • Excessive amounts of zinc and vitamin e interfere with iron absorption.
  • Excess iron can cause constipation, diarrhea, and rarely, in high doses, death. 
  • High-fiber, calcium supplements, excessive amounts of zinc and vitamin e interfere with iron absorption.
  • In some cases, a deficiency of vitamin b6 (pyridoxine) or vitamin b12 can be the underlying cause of anemia.  Strenuous exercise and heavy perspiration deplete iron from the body.
  • Iron deficiency can be caused from insufficient intake or it may result from intestinal bleeding, excessive menstrual bleeding, a diet high in phosphorus, poor digestion, long-term illness, ulcers, prolonged use of antacids, excessive coffee or tea consumption, or other causes.
  • Iron deficiency is more prevalent in people with candidiasis or chronic herpes infections.
  • Iron utilization may be impaired by rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.  These diseases can result in anemia despite adequate amounts of iron stored in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. 
  • Pregnant, breast-feeding, and menstruating women, infants, children, athletes, and vegetarians may require increased levels of iron
  • There must be sufficient hydrochloric acid present in the stomach in order for iron to be absorbed.  Copper, manganese, molybdenum, vitamin a, and the b-complex vitamins are also needed for complete iron absorption.
  • Use caution when giving children iron supplements – even doses as little as 3 g. Can cause death.
  • Vitamin a helps treat iron deficiency because it helps the body use iron stored in the liver.
  • Vitamin C needed in order to assimilate iron and can increase absorption by as much as 30 percent  

Helpful Links and Resources on Iron Supplements: