Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeCauseCan Low Iron Cause Anxiety

Can Low Iron Cause Anxiety

Understanding Anemia And Anxiety

Iron Deficiency Symptoms How To Deal With Fatigue & Anxiety From Low Iron

Anemia generally occurs when there is a lack of specific vitamins in the body. Iron is the most common, but you can be anemic if you dont have enough Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Folic Acid and more. Many different vitamin deficiencies can lead to anemia.

Anemia itself can also cause anxiety as a symptom. Those that are anemic are placing their body under a great deal of stress, and this often sends messages to the brain to be more anxious. Further, the brain may not be getting enough healthy blood, and the symptoms of anxiety may cause anxiousness on their own.

So it is possible for someone to be anemic, and have that anemia lead to more anxiety. It’s also possible for someone to have symptoms of anemia, and the person that lives with those symptoms develops an anxiety disorder because of the way the symptoms cause them stress.

Are You Deficient In Iron

The most common cause of iron deficiency is from loss of blood. Some situations that may put you at risk for being deficient in iron can result from:

  • Frequently donating blood
  • Having a medical condition that causes genitourinary bleeding, such as from the bladder, prostate or urethra, or respiratory tract bleeding, such as from an infection
  • Experiencing heavy menstrual periods
  • Blood loss from conditions such as peptic ulcer, a colon polyp, hiatal hernia or uterine fibroids
  • Health condition that inhibits absorption of iron, such as Crohn’s disease, gastric bypass surgery or celiac disease
  • Pregnancy and increased demand of iron for tissue growth and bleeding during delivery
  • Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet

If you risk having a low-iron level you should be aware that a deficiency may not be immediately noticeable and can go undiagnosed as your body uses its stored iron. When the iron in your body is depleted, the results can be serious health problems or iron deficiency anemia. According to an article in Clinical Case Reports, published in June 2018, 10 to 20 percent of menstruating women have an iron deficiency and 3 to 5 percent are anemic.

Thyroid Issues Are To Blame

Your thyroid gland produces hormones involved in metabolism and growth, releasing the hormones only when needed. But when your thyroid gets out of whack , your thyroid can overproduce or underproduce these hormones, leading to a range of physical and mental symptoms.

In a large 2015 study of people diagnosed with thyroid conditions, researchers linked an overactive thyroid to anxiety, while an underactive thyroid was associated with depression. Another study found that 60 percent of patients with hypothyroidism reported symptoms of depression, while 63 percent reported symptoms of anxiety.

Researchers still arent exactly sure what underlying mechanism links thyroid disorders with depression and anxietythere may be severalbut the relationship between thyroid hormones and mood regulation is likely stronger than previously thought.

You May Like: How To Know If You Anxiety

I Have Been Suffering From Iron Deficiency Which Caused Anxiety Panic Attacks Until Diagnosed


Help me ! I had a very low s ferritin as low as 3 but my haemoglobin was 10.5. I also had vitamin D deficiency. I had fear, motion sickness and vision disturbance which triggered panic attacks for three months before it was diagonized. These psychological disorder was so pervading that I couldnt notice the physical weakness, hair loss, brittle nails, exhaustion and dizziness. I have been now taking my iron pill that’s 100mg per day and eating lots of foods that contain iron. Most of my psychological problem has gone away but I still feel dizzy as the surrounding over me is moving. I still get anxiety sometime thinking about past two months. However, I am still feeling dizzy. I wanted to know if anyone felt like me due to iron deficiency. How long before I am back to my normal self? Help me.

1 like, 31 replies

  • Posted 4 years ago

    We all seem to have a range of symptoms so I cant say. Personally I dont get dizziness from anaemia but that doesnt mean it isnt in your case. But obviously you should not be feeling like this. It could be something completely unrelated. In any case you should seek medical advice ASAP. Good luck . It sounds so distressing for you.

  • Healing B12 Folate And B6 Deficiencies

    The Role Of Low Serotonin Low Vitamin B6 And Low Iron In

    Folate and B vitamins can be consumed in dark leafy greens, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish.

    In my clinic, we use methylated B12 and folate in combination with B vitamins such as B6 to avoid problems with conversion that can cause build up of homocysteine and inflammation. One of my favorite ways to supplement these nutrients is a high quality multivitamin.

    Don’t Miss: Does Anxiety Make You Pee More

    Panic Attacks And Anemia

    Panic attacks are a common form of anxiety. People experiencing anxiety attacks experience the signs slowly as compared to those with panic attacks. While some anxiety disorders are hereditary, some are caused by medical conditions, such as anemia.

    Insufficient oxygen levels in hemoglobin can trigger panic attacks. The attacks happen quickly and are ordinarily intense. They can stop within 20 to 30 minutes. Since anemia triggers these attacks, it would be paramount to seek anemia to stop the attacks.

    Sometimes The First Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Are Neurologic

    Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional problem in the world, affecting at least 2.5 billion people. In developing countries, as many as 40% of young children and 50% of pregnant women are deficient. Iron is a prevalent mineral, making up 5% of the earths crust, but a combination of inefficiency in absorption, poor iron in certain staple grain foods, and medical conditions make low iron levels a frequent occurrence among humans. Even in first world countries, iron is the most common nutrient deficiency.

    Low iron intake and accelerated iron loss are the main causes of iron deficiency. Therefore pregnant women, breastfeeding women, women with heavy periods, children and other folks who are picky eaters, vegetarians and vegans, and anyone with digestion issues causing reduced absorption or increased bleeding are at higher risk for iron deficiency. High intake of calcium can interfere with iron absorption as well, along with commonly used medications such as antacids and proton-pump inhibitors for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

    While we are used to thinking of low iron levels as causing anemia due to red blood cells requirement for iron as a part of hemoglobin, iron is also desperately needed for the nerves and brain. Severe iron deficiency in young children can cause irreversible damage to cognition and result in lower IQ and developmental delays, particularly during a critical period of human development in utero and up to 16 months of age.

    Don’t Miss: How To Get Appetite Back After Anxiety

    Baseline Characteristics Of The Ida And Non

    In total, we enrolled 19,397 IDA patients and 38,794 controls. The flow chart for selecting the study population is shown in Fig. .The demographic characteristics and comorbidities of the study population are presented in Table . The values from IDA and non-IDA groups regarding age and gender are equal, owing to subjects being matched. The IDA patients had a higher prevalence of listed comorbidities and iron supplementation rate than the non-IDA group . In addition, there was a significant difference in the income level and living area between these two groups.

    Fig. 1

    Does Anxiety Cause Anemia

    My mental health story caused by iron deficiency

    An interesting question though is whether or not anxiety can actually cause anemia. It’s unlikely that anxiety can lead to dangerous levels of anemia, but it may be possible for anxiety to contribute to the development of mild anemia.

    Studies have rarely looked at the effects of anxiety on vitamin metabolism. But there are reasons to believe that stress does have an effect. For example, as many as 25% of the country is already magnesium deficient. During times of severe stress, the body actually uses up magnesium in the body. Thus those with anxiety may already have low magnesium, and then be using up what they do have when they’re experiencing anxiety attacks. It’s possible this leads to the development of mild anemia.

    Hyperventilation also uses up magnesium. Since many people with anxiety hyperventilate, a large number may be contributing to a magnesium deficiency and ultimately anemia.

    Anxiety can also affect the immune system, which may have an effect on anemia. It can also cause poor eating habits these too may cause you to become more anemic.

    These are all unexplored, but absolutely possible links between anxiety and anemia.

    Recommended Reading: What Medicine Is Good For Social Anxiety

    Youre Lacking In Vitamin D

    If youve got a job that keeps you indoors most of the day, chances are you may be part of the 42 percent of Americans with a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is created by your body when sunlight hits the skin and is found in fatty fishes like salmon and tuna, eggs, and mushrooms.

    Most people associate low vitamin D with wintertime and seasonal depression, but it can hit at any time of year. A thorough review of studies analyzing depression and vitamin D concluded that lower vitamin D levels were found in people with depression compared to controls.

    Scientists also found that when depressed individuals received vitamin D supplementation for one year, they had significant improvements in symptoms of depression compared with depressed people taking a placebo. The area of the brain associated with depression is also a site of vitamin D receptors, posing one possible explanation for the link between the two.

    You Drink Alcohol In Excess

    You might think happy hour is the ultimate way to unwind from your day, but the temporary effects of alcohol are just thattemporary. When you drink, alcohol increases dopamine, a feel-good chemical, and binds to and alters the neurotransmitter receptor GABA, which increases the effect of GABA and can have a calming effect in the moment. But it also interrupts other mood-regulating neurotransmitters, like serotonin. When these alcohol-induced effects wear off, you may experience a range of anxiety symptoms.

    In the long term, excessive drinking makes neurons less excitable and permanently changes the mRNA and protein levels in GABA receptors. This makes the receptors less sensitive, so the brain needs more GABA. Without it, symptoms of anxiety can result. This doesnt necessarily mean you have to completely remove alcohol from your life, but take at least three nights off per week from drinking and always drink in moderation.

    You May Like: Can I Go To Hospital For Anxiety

    Baseline Characteristics And Comorbidities

    The general characteristics of individuals were age, gender, and insurable salary . The present study used the urbanization stratification of Taiwan townships developed at Taiwans NHRIs. This index was derived from a cluster analysis of five indicators: population density, percentage of population with college or greater educational level, percentage of population aged 65years or over, percentage of population working in agriculture, and density of physicians per 100,000 people. The 368 townships in Taiwan were classified into seven levels of urbanization except for the isolated isles in Kinmen and Lienchiang counties. We further classified the urbanization levels as urban , suburban , rural and the isolated isles as remote areas . The covariates of comorbidities that were selected in this study included hypertension , diabetes mellitus , dyslipidemia , hyperthyroidism , hypothyroidism , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , stroke , coronary artery disease , chronic kidney disease and liver cirrhosis .

    Why Women Are More Prone To Panic Attacks And Anxiety

    47 Negative Health Effects Of Iron Deficiency Selfhacked

    Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that acts as a messenger to transmit signals within the brain. Low serotonin levels are well-recognized by the medical community as a primary cause of panic attacks, depression and other signs of anxiety in women. And, women are much more likely to suffer from serotonin deficiency than men. But why?

    Low serotonin levels in women likely are the result of their more sensitive and intense responses to stress as well as their higher rates of thyroid problems. There is also some evidence that female hormones interact with serotonin to cause anxiety symptoms to occur or worsen during the premenstrual time, during the postpartum period, and around the time of menopause.

    Not coincidentally, these are all periods when sex hormones are in flux. Men, on the other hand, generally experience a steady level of sex hormones until middle age, when the decline is gradual.

    You May Like: How To Deal With Someone With Anxiety

    Figuring Out Your Treatment Options

    If you suspect your iron levels are low, talk with your doctor about having them tested to determine whether you should start taking a supplement. Getting your fill of the mineral will help you feel better physically, and it could potentially reduce your risk for mental health problems.

    In patients with iron-deficiency anemia, supplementing with iron was tied to a decreased risk of psychiatric disorders, per the May 2020 âBMC Psychiatryâ analysis.

    If you’re experiencing anxiety but haven’t yet sought formal treatment, making an effort to eat more iron-rich foods isn’t a bad idea. Lean red meat, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, beans, spinach, kale and sardines are all good options, according to the National Institutes of Health .

    “Because the symptoms of iron deficiency are comparable to those of anxiety, increasing iron intake can result in improved symptoms of overall physical and emotional wellbeing, including reduced anxiety,” Dr. Naidoo says.

    That said, iron-rich foods or even iron supplements alone may not be enough to manage anxiety.

    “They can offer a tangible start to managing symptoms,” Dr. Naidoo says. But “if you feel that your symptoms are impacting your overall quality of life, I’d recommend seeking professional care as well.”

    With the help of a mental health expert, you can discuss standard anxiety treatment options like therapy or medication.

    How To Support Healthy Red Blood Cells

    • Eat foods rich in Vitamin C such as cabbage or sauerkraut, citrus fruits, and broccoli to promote absorption of iron.
    • Drink dandelion tea, which may help with iron absorption, or add dandelion greens to stews, soups, smoothies, and juices.
    • Avoid consuming dairy or foods rich in calcium alongside iron, as these two minerals compete for absorption by the small intestine.
    • Be mindful of coffee and black tea consumption, as they are known to interfere with iron absorption.
    • Eat a variety of iron-rich foods, such as raw cacao, lentils, beans, leafy greens, responsibly-caught clams, and grass-fed red meat. Ideally, legumes should be soaked and sprouted for best results.
    • Consume prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods daily to support healthy digestion, and/or take a high-quality supplement.
    • Remember to chew food thoroughly.
    • Eat foods rich in bioavailable vitamin B12, such as fermented foods, nori, nutritional yeast, responsibly-caught fish and shellfish, and pastured meats. While most algae is high in B12, it is considered a pseudo form and inactive in humans Those who consume a predominantly plant-based diet are advised to supplement.
    • Finally, be certain to rule out underlying health issues, such as autoimmune conditions like Celiacs disease and pernicious anemia.

    Read Also: What To Do When Anxiety Is Overwhelming

    How Anemia Causes Anxiety And The Possible Treatment Options

    Human blood comprises white blood cells, red blood cells, and plasma. Red blood cells deliver nutrients and oxygen. Anemia occurs due to a reduction of the RBCs in the blood. Today we answer the question can anemia cause anxiety?

    Since healthy and sufficient red blood cells are essential for your well-being, it is important to discover any underlying causes for the ailment and then treat the anemia as quickly as possible. Before we talk about how to treat it, we must discuss it more comprehensively.

    What Is Iron Deficiency

    Can Low Iron Cause Headaches?

    For your body to produce blood, iron is essential. More than half of your body’s iron is in your blood. Your red blood cells help with oxygen transfer between tissues and lungs, which is especially important.

    Since your body cannot make iron itself, you must supplement your diet and other sources. A severe deficiency can have adverse effects on your health and can even cause developmental problems in children. A lack of iron in the blood means the brain has trouble communicating, and that leads to many issues throughout the whole body.

    Causes for low irons levels are mostly due to not having enough iron-rich foods in the diet. Blood loss is also a key factor, especially with women during menstruation. Other causes can include reduced absorption, picky eating, and certain cancers.

    We do not know much about precisely what iron’s relationship with the nervous system is. Regardless of that, it is evident that there is a correlation of some sort. Your brain cannot process information efficiently without the proper amount of iron, which means we still have to wonder can low iron cause anxiety?

    Don’t Miss: What Can I Take For Stress And Anxiety

    Your Tongue Looks Smooth

    Besides sapping the color out of your tongue, IDA can reduce myoglobin levels, a protein in red blood cells that supports muscle healthlike the muscle that makes up the tongueDr. Berliner said.

    As a result, people who are iron deficient can experience an inflamed, shiny, or strangely smooth tongue. The tongue may also feel dry or sore. This condition is called glossitis, per StatPearls.

    B12 Folate And B6 Deficiencies

    In my clinical practice, Ive found that blood tests for B12 and folate are not the most useful for identifying these nutrient deficiencies and the inflammation they can cause. Instead, I test blood homocysteine which is an amino acid that builds up when B12, folate, or B6 are deficient. High levels of homocysteine indicate high inflammation, especially in the cardiovascular system.

    Also Check: How To Help Daughter With Anxiety

    Stages Of Iron Deficiency

    There are three stages of iron deficiency. Iron stores are measured in ferritin. When ferritin is between 10 to 15 ng/mL there is deficiency but not exhaustion. During this stage, there may not be any symptoms that conventional medicine would recognize.

    The difference in Functional Medicine is that we flag anything under 30 ng/mL. In this way we prevent stage two when iron stores become exhausted and ferritin drops below 10 ng/mL.

    The final stage is when there is no iron in bone marrow stores. Red blood cell production and hemoglobin drop. Anemia is more obvious, and symptoms can become severe. Unfortunately, most clinicians in primary care settings dont test iron or ferritin. They only look at hemoglobin, red blood cells, and MCV levels. This is why a lot of patients in stage one and stage two are being missed.

    In fact, its fairly common that people are iron deficient for decades without knowing it. Iron deficiency affects 1.62 billion people worldwide. Thats 25% of our global population.

    Functional medicine understands there is a connection between depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and low iron. Observing a patient and feeling the pulse is often enough to suspect iron deficiency. This is part of my basic training.


    In many places people can order their own bloodwork but the interpretation is important. I ask patients to get copies of their labs so we can look over them together from a Functional perspective.

    - Advertisment -

    Most Popular

    - Advertisment -