Media alert: Low intake of iron & other nutrients contributing to poor brain & immune health — study

A recent study reveals that a downward trend in the intake of iron and other vital nutrients is contributing to poor brain function and other health problems.

The study, by the UK’s University of Sunderland, collected micronutrient data from two national nutrition surveys and found that people of all ages showed low levels of intake of iron, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, iodine, selenium and zinc. In South Africa, research also indicates a high level of nutrient deficiency and hunger, both contributing to poor health.

Michael Wakeman, lead researcher of the UK study said: “These low levels of micronutrients are associated with many health challenges: bone health, brain health, cardiovascular health, digestive health, eye health and immune function.”

Iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Iron is found in the red blood cells, called haemoglobin, which is essential for transferring oxygen from the lungs to tissue. Without enough iron, the body also struggles to make the amino acid, tryptophan, used to create melatonin and serotonin which influences mood, cognition, behaviour and sleep.

Nutritional consultant, Vanessa Ascencao, says good nutrition is crucial for good health and nutritional deficiencies may lead to infections, heart disease, loss of cognition and brittle bones.
“Food is medicine. We need to boost our nutrient intake and our immunity especially during this time when illness and infection is rife,” she said.

“Live a healthy balanced lifestyle; eat foods that are nutrient-rich, increase intake of good fats, manage stress, get enough good quality sleep and take high quality supplements such as Spatone liquid iron, a 100% natural occurring, iron-rich mineral water sourced from ancient springs in Wales and clinically proven to be more easily absorbed that standard iron supplements.

“If necessary, speak to a nutritional consultant to help create a health plan specifically for your needs,” she added.

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