Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

The human body is made up on innumerable nutrients and minerals without which it cannot function properly. The body tends to experience loss of these nutrients and minerals due to one or more factors, which can further affect the proper functioning of the body. One of the most essential minerals in the body is iron. It is required to help the red blood cells transport oxygen to the rest of the body. Furthermore, it also helps in producing energy and facilitates cell respiration. Iron makes for an essential mineral for each and every human being; however, it is most required by women.
According to the National Institute of Health, an average adult male needs about eight milligram of iron per day and an average adult female needs 18 milligram of iron per day. During pregnancy, a female needs 27 milligrams, a triple of what men need.

According to Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "It is primarily because of the monthly cycle that women tend to lose blood. Typically in pregnancy, women require more iron because there is an increase in blood volume, which is needed for baby's growth in the womb. Iron is needed to replenish the loss of blood during menstrual cycle and delivery of the baby. While it is important for both men and women, these two factors make iron an important mineral for women." Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood agrees, "Physiologically, women need more iron because of the menstrual cycle, you need to replenish blood, which is why you should load up on iron rich foods more."

One of the biggest reasons to add more iron in your diet is menstruation. It is about losing a lot of blood every month, which can affect overall iron content in the body. Compensate by increasing the consumption of iron rich foods.

Another reason is pregnancy. Iron helps form the placenta that is an essential part of the womb. The iron is not needed by your body but also by the baby for its growth. In fact, the iron you supply to the baby needs to last for six months after birth. So iron does not only aid in development, but the child is storing up for later.

Iron Deficiency

An insufficient amount of iron can lead to insufficient amount of oxygen in your blood, which can result in anemia, further causing fatigue. So it is important to load up on iron rich foods. Consume more green leafy vegetables, eggs, dry fruits, nuts and seeds, pulses and beans, fish, whole grains, et al.


Iron is a must for everyone, be it a male or female. However, it is imperative for women to be extremely careful of their deficiencies considering they might have to suffer from quick loss of iron.

Zinc is chemically a metal and a trace mineral with multiple health benefits. It is required by the body for a number of functions in small quantities on a regular basis. Some of its important roles include improving immunity, hormone production and promoting digestion, controlling inflammation, tissue growth and repair, etc. to name a few. It also helps in controlling free radical production and therefore has anti-inflammatory effects in reversing heart disease and fighting cancer.

About 5 to 8 mg of zinc is needed by a person per day, with smaller children needing it in the lesser range and women needing more of it. Natural sources of zinc include animal rich protein foods like animal meat and seafood. Dairy products, legumes, pulses and whole grains also contain good amounts of zinc. Modern-day foods contain added zinc and therefore are good sources too, though their availability and utility value for the body remain a question.

Zinc improves immunity i.e. the body produces T-cells when there is an infection or foreign body. These T cells also help in controlling and regulating immune responses and in people with zinc deficiency, the immune system is suppressed putting them at risk for infections and illnesses.

Zinc has a great role in maintaining skin integrity: Delayed wound healing is one of the first symptoms of zinc deficiency. People could also develop chronic ulcers or wounds. There is increased bacterial growth (reduced immunity), increased inflammation, and reduced re-epithelialization, all leading to poor skin health and delaying wound healing.

Zinc is essential for healthy gut function and it is one of the best remedies for diarrhoea. Deficiency can lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Zinc reduces free radical damage, which is responsible for chronic inflammation. Including an adequate amount of zinc in diet can reduce this inflammation, leading to preventing heart disease, reducing the incidence of cancer, etc. It also is shown to prevent cellular damage in the retina, thereby reducing the incidence of macular degeneration.

Zinc is essential for proper growth and development. Zinc deficiency is shown to produce shorter stature, anaemia, and delayed sexual maturation. During the growing years especially, it is very important to provide an adequate amount of zinc for the body, either naturally or through supplements.

Fertility and zinc also has a strong correlation. In males, it affects both the quantity and quality of sperm production. The sperm count was shown to improve with zinc supplementation in males who complained of low sperm count.

Controlling memory is another function of zinc. It determines how neurones talk to each other, which is essential for transmission of signals across the brain and formation of memory.

How many of us know that a deficiency of Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine can make you susceptible for heart disease, brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as muscle pain, depression and dragging fatigue?

Vitamin B6 is one of the most crucial vitamins for health and it’s a part of the vitamin B complex family. Now, all B vitamins, including vitamin B6, play an important role in a number of life-altering physical and psychological functions. All of them have a vital role to play in helping to maintain a healthy metabolism, nerve and liver function as well as skin and eye health, as well as good amount of energy levels.

Role of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine has a number of derivatives, including pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phosphate and pyridoxamine. And all of these are involved in major body functions like movement, memory, energy use and blood flow. This is the primary reason why a vitamin B6 deficiency can show up in a range of symptoms from physical to psychological, temporary to chronic and serious.
Vitamin B6 also helps your body to

Maintain a healthy nervous system

To make more hemoglobin, blood cells that carry oxygen in blood

To provide energy from our food

To balance blood sugar levels

To act as a natural pain relief

To boost mood

To create antibodies for self-protection

Preventing a Vitamin B6 Deficiency

The recommended amount of vitamin B6 for an adult under the age of 50 is 1.3 milligrams.

Normally, this amount is easy to get from your diet, assuming you are eating a balanced diet with enough calories. However, the amount the body’s requirement for vitamin B6 jumps up as you age. Experts recommend that adults over 50 get up to 1.7 milligram daily of this vitamin.

As this requirement is not met, older people get more prone to a vitamin B6 deficiency and so do malnourished children and adults. Foods like poultry, pork, nuts and beans contain high levels of vitamin B6 and you can include more of these to get the recommended dose of vitamin B6. However, since vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, so you need to replenish your body with it daily as it doesn’t get stored in the body.


Symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency:

Lack of energy and chronic fatigue: Vitamin B6 helps supply your body with energy by improving your metabolism. It has a vital role to play in protein metabolism – it helps your body break down the protein that you eat and produce energy quickly. So one very important pointer that you have a vitamin B6 deficiency is when you get fatigued quickly during exercise.

Brain function decline: Vitamin B6 vitamin helps your brain communicate with other parts of the body more efficiently. So, if you have a decline in muscle efficiency it could be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency.

High Levels of amino acid Homocysteine: High levels of amino acid Homocysteine do not cause any symptoms that you can detect by yourself but tests can tell you if you have high levels of this amino acid in your body. And these high levels are directly linked to vitamin B6 deficiency. What high levels of homocysteine can do is cause heart attacks. But vitamin B6 helps keep a check on these levels to reduce your risk for a cardiovascular event.

Other symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are:

Changes in mood, such as depression, irritability, and anxiety

Confusion

Muscle pains

Fatigue

A worsening of PMS symptoms

And worsening of symptoms of anemia
As vitamin B6 is so important for nerve function, a deficiency is linked with neuro-psychiatric disorders like seizures, migraines, and chronic pain.

An increased risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis

Higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Zinc deficiency is one epidemic that people are mostly unaware of. As per the data shared by World Health Organization, around 31% of the world population is suffering from zinc deficiency. The problem is also ranked 5th in the leading factors that cause several diseases. It is also a primary reason why underdeveloped nations suffer from high mortality rate as zinc deficiency is associated with child pneumonia and diarrhea.

Every person, young or old, needs to have a regular intake of zinc for a healthy life, which it is known as an essential nutrient. It is also present in every cell, tissue, bone and fluid in the human body; zinc is especially prevalent in male semen and prostate glands.

Common Symptoms Of Zinc Deficiency

Unfortunately, millions of people suffering from zinc deficiency are unaware of their condition. However, looking out for certain key indicators can help in identifying the problem before it becomes severe. Here are the common symptoms of zinc deficiency that everyone must look out for:

Diarrhea & Leaky Gut- Impaired immunity causes zinc deficiency diarrhea, which can become a persistent health problem. Every year diarrhea affects nearly 2 million children worldwide, and most of them are suspected to have a zinc deficiency and bacterial infection. Leaky gut, also called intestinal permeability can lead to a slew of health problems like skin allergies, thyroid problems, and nutrient malabsorption.
Zinc Rich Foods You Must Include In Your Diet

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms shared above, then you might be suffering from the zinc deficiency. To improve the level of zinc in your body, you can either take all natural zinc supplements. But, supplements usually contain several forms of zinc like zinc sulfate, zinc acetate and more. Thus, it is better to include the below-shared foods in your diet, which contain a high amount of zinc:

Pumpkin seeds –1/2 cup: 8.4 mg
Lamb– 4 oz: 5.2 mg
Cashews –1/2 cup: 3.8 mg
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) –1 cup cooked: 2.5 mg
Mushrooms –1 cup cooked: 1.9 mg
Chicken – 4 oz: 1.6 mg
Kefir or Yogurt – 1 cup: 1.4 mg
Spinach –1 cup cooked: 1.4 mg
Cocoa powder – 1 Tbsp: 0.4 mg

The human body is made up on innumerable nutrients and minerals without which it cannot function properly. The body tends to experience loss of these nutrients and minerals due to one or more factors, which can further affect the proper functioning of the body. One of the most essential minerals in the body is iron. It is required to help the red blood cells transport oxygen to the rest of the body. Furthermore, it also helps in producing energy and facilitates cell respiration. Iron makes for an essential mineral for each and every human being; however, it is most required by women.According to the National Institute of Health, an average adult male needs about eight milligram of iron per day and an average adult female needs 18 milligram of iron per day. During pregnancy, a female needs 27 milligrams, a triple of what men need.

According to Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "It is primarily because of the monthly cycle that women tend to lose blood. Typically in pregnancy, women require more iron because there is an increase in blood volume, which is needed for baby's growth in the womb. Iron is needed to replenish the loss of blood during menstrual cycle and delivery of the baby. While it is important for both men and women, these two factors make iron an important mineral for women." Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood agrees, "Physiologically, women need more iron because of the menstrual cycle, you need to replenish blood, which is why you should load up on iron rich foods more."

One of the biggest reasons to add more iron in your diet is menstruation. It is about losing a lot of blood every month, which can affect overall iron content in the body. Compensate by increasing the consumption of iron rich foods.

Another reason is pregnancy. Iron helps form the placenta that is an essential part of the womb. The iron is not needed by your body but also by the baby for its growth. In fact, the iron you supply to the baby needs to last for six months after birth. So iron does not only aid in development, but the child is storing up for later.

(Also Read: 5 Iron Rich Foods for a Stronger You & Good Health )

Iron Deficiency

An insufficient amount of iron can lead to insufficient amount of oxygen in your blood, which can result in anemia, further causing fatigue. So it is important to load up on iron rich foods. Consume more green leafy vegetables, eggs, dry fruits, nuts and seeds, pulses and beans, fish, whole grains, et al.

Iron is a must for everyone, be it a male or female. However, it is imperative for women to be extremely careful of their deficiencies considering they might have to suffer from quick loss of iron.

Dr. Pallavi Joshi
Dr. Pallavi Joshi
BHMS, Family Physician Homeopath, 1 yrs, Pune
Dr. Mahesh Yadav
Dr. Mahesh Yadav
BAMS, Ayurveda, 25 yrs, Pune
Dr. Deepti Shukla
Dr. Deepti Shukla
MD - Allopathy, Dermatologist Trichologist, 12 yrs, Mumbai City
Dr. Avinash Deore
Dr. Avinash Deore
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Infertility Specialist, 15 yrs, Pune
Dr. Dr Anirudha Vaidya
Dr. Dr Anirudha Vaidya
MPTh, Neuro Physiotherapist Obesity Specialist, 7 yrs, Pune
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