Iron deficiency in children: symptoms and what to do?If children are often tired, have difficulty concentrating or have an increased susceptibility to infections, the cause may be iron deficiency. Typical symptoms and how to prevent iron deficiency in children through diet.
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) repeatedly warns of iron deficiency in various population groups. This includes athletes, middle-aged women, pregnant women and older people. But even young children and schoolchildren often suffer from iron deficiency during growth, which can have drastic effects on their physical and mental development.
Functions of iron in the body
Iron is one of the trace elements essential for life. Because the body cannot produce iron itself, it is dependent on an adequate supply through food. Iron is involved in the formation of red blood cells and numerous important enzymes, which, for example, serve to generate energy for the cells. Most of the supplied iron is needed for the formation of hemoglobin. This pigment of red blood cells is necessary to transport oxygen from the lungs to the organs and carbon dioxide back to the organs. About 30 percent of iron is bound in the liver and spleen in the form of storage iron.
How iron deficiency in children manifests itself
If the iron intake is permanently insufficient and the iron stores in the liver and spleen are depleted, iron deficiency can lead to anemia. Less hemoglobin can be formed. The oxygen supply to the organs deteriorates. In children, an iron deficiency can, in the long run, impair mental. Delaying physical development. Numerous studies have shown that young children with iron deficiency may continue to have developmental disadvantages into adolescence. In recognized tests, researchers repeatedly encountered behavioral changes and cognitive deficits or. Deficits in general intelligence, which were much less common in children without iron deficiency. Young children in particular show decreased attention, more anxiety, caution and hesitation, distress and unhappiness when iron deficient.
Balanced diet prevents iron deficiency in children
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily iron intake of 15 mg for adolescent girls, while the requirement for boys of the same age is 12 mg a day.
Recommended intake of iron in children:
– 0-4 months: 0,5 mg/day – 4-12 months: 8 mg/day – 1-7 years: 8 mg/day – 7-10 years: 10 mg/day – 10-19 years (boys): 12 mg/day – 10-19 years (girls): 12 mg/day
With a balanced diet, an appropriate supply can be ensured in normal cases and iron deficiency can be avoided. However, youngsters who like to feast on fast food or eat a strict vegetarian diet have a higher risk of iron deficiency. In this case, a supportive supply of iron can be useful. So-called liquid herbal blood preparations with bivalent iron, which the body can utilize particularly well, are especially effective.
Add iron-containing foods to the menu
The best sources of iron are animal foods such as meat, fish and eggs. Fish should be on the menu once or twice a week, and lean meat three or four times a week. Among the plant foods, whole grain products, nuts and legumes such as lentils, white beans and chickpeas can score with a lot of iron. Unfortunately, the body usually cannot absorb iron from plant foods so well. To improve the utilization of the vegetable iron, the meal can be combined with vitamin C-rich drinks such as orange juice or side dishes such as sauerkraut, potatoes, peppers and Brussels sprouts. This is how iron deficiency in children can be prevented.