By: Jadon Webb, MD, PhD
Many cases of mental illness are caused by underlying health conditions. When getting help, it is important to always make sure that your body is healthy. One key part of our bodies that is sometimes overlooked is the level of iron in our blood.
Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from our lungs to every cell in the body. If you don't have enough iron, you might have symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and more severe depression. We have known about the relationship of iron and good mental health for decades. A study took a closer look at the association between iron levels and various psychiatric disorders, including depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and developmental delays.
From this study, it was clear that low iron levels are associated with these severe conditions, and this relationship was especially strong in females. Overall, the risk of most conditions such as depressive disorder and anxiety disorder was double in those with low iron. We still do not know for certain how giving iron supplementation to someone with anemia will, for example, help with depression, but iron deficiency associates with a number of physical symptoms, and deserves to be treated!
When you are getting an assessment for mental health concerns, consider examining your whole health, and include looking at iron!
about the authorS
Jadon Webb, M.D., Ph.D.
Bloom Mental Health
Disclaimer: this blog is NOT intended as medical advice and does not imply any kind of specific guidance or treatment recommendations, and should NOT be used to guide a treatment protocol. (read full disclaimer)
DNP, MSN, FNP-BC
Family Nurse Practitioner