3 Signs You Have an Iron Deficiency

Do you know the signs of a dietary iron deficiency? We'll tell you what they are, and how an iron deficiency can affect your physical health.
3 Signs You Have an Iron Deficiency

Last update: 29 August, 2020

Iron deficiency can manifest itself through the appearance of a series of signs. This is an important mineral for the body and is responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. It’s important to make sure you get enough to prevent complex disorders, which can alter the lifestyle of those who suffer from them.

Some diets don’t get enough of this mineral. For example, it’s hard to get enough iron in vegan diets. Iron from animal foods has a much higher bioavailability than plant products. Not eating meat can make it harder to absorb this nutrient, and you’ll also need to make sure to get enough vitamin C to absorb it.

Iron deficiency and tiredness

One of the typical signs of iron deficiency is a feeling of extreme fatigue or tirednessThis symptom is linked to anemia, which is caused by not getting enough iron, among other things.

To reverse the situation, you need to take iron supplements. This is stated in an article from The Medical Clinics of North America, where this pathology is linked to a loss of iron produced from menstruation or gastrointestinal bleeding.

If you experience tiredness and don’t know why, see a specialist to check your iron levels. With this test, you’ll be able to see the process of anemia from a low supply of iron, or a decrease in iron.

A tired woman pouring a cup of coffee.

Constant headaches may mean an iron deficiency

Another of the typical signs that can lead to an iron deficiency is a constant headache that doesn’t go away. In fact, this symptom is also part of a process of anemia if you don’t get enough iron.

Also, some types of migraine are linked to this condition. The research in the journal Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift explains this.

However, it’s not easy to identify the causes of migraines. Often, hormone changes can cause them. In other situations, dietary imbalances can also cause them. Either way, everything seems to show that there’s a genetic predisposition to suffer from this type of disorder.

Low iron levels can also affect the skin

The last of the signs that warn of an iron deficiency that we’ll talk about are the changes in the appearance of the skin. It’s common for the skin to become paler, and for the hands and feet to be colder than normal. You might also notice changes to your nails. In this case, they might split or crack more easily.

If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor so he can perform a serum analysis to check your body’s iron levels. If your levels are low, you’ll need to adjust your diet. In some cases, you might need to take a supplement.

A broken nail from an iron deficiency.

Iron deficiencies need to be corrected

Usually, an iron deficiency triggers the appearance of a series of signs that warn about this deficit. A large part of them are related to the development of anemia caused by not getting enough of this mineral.

If you experience frequent fatigue or tiredness, along with dizziness or headaches, consider seeing your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you’ll need to make some dietary changes.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • DeLoughery TG., Iron Deficiency Anemia. Med Clin North Am, 2017. 101 (2): 319-332.
  • Pamuk GE., Serif Top M., Sevki Uyanik M., Koker H., et al., Is iron deficiency anemia associated with migraine? is there a role for anxiety and depression? Wien Klin Wochenschr, 2016. 128: 576-580.

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.