Millions of people in the U.S. suffer from an iron deficiency. Many of these people are children, and many of them don’t realize they are iron deficient. The most common symptoms of this ailment include a continual sense of fatigue, physical weakness, chest pain, and recurring headaches. If the issue is neglected, it can worsen and lead to the development of anemia — a dangerous condition that impairs a person’s immune ability and weakens their physical strength. If your child has ever complained of any of the aforementioned symptoms, it’s possible that they are suffering from an iron deficiency. This problem can affect kids of all ages, including toddlers and babies. Luckily, though, there are solutions such as an organic iron supplement for toddlers.

What Is an Iron Deficiency and How to Detect It?

What exactly is an iron deficiency, and what causes it? An iron deficiency is defined as an insufficient supply of iron found in the body. It can be caused by a wide range of issues, including a genetic disposition or a diet that does not contain sufficient nutrients. Other common causes include regular, substantial blood loss — including that which is caused by menstruation — and some gastrointestinal disorders. Celiac disease, for example, thwarts the body’s ability to properly absorb iron from digested food.

How is iron deficiency detected and diagnosed? If your child displays any of the typical symptoms, this is a good indication that they may be dealing with a nutritional deficiency of some sort. Iron deficiency can be formally diagnosed by taking a blood sample and measuring the amount of ferritin it contains. The result is then compared to the threshold for diagnosis of pediatric iron deficiency. This is called a ferritin test, and it’s an effective tool for diagnosis. Doctors may recommend trying supplements such as Wellements iron drops if results confirm an iron deficiency.

What to Do If Your Child Has an Iron Deficiency

In addition to supplements and iron drops, what can you do if your child is diagnosed with an iron deficiency? It’s important to identify any potential risk factors that could be aggravating the condition, including any conditions that cause chronic blood loss. You should also take steps to incorporate foods into your child’s diet that can help by supplying a digestible source of iron. Some of the best foods for this purpose include shellfish, spinach, red meat, and legumes. If your kid resists these foods, try mixing them into foods that they know and love, like mac and cheese.

If you have an infant who’s dealing with low iron in babies, there are some additional steps you should take. Cow’s milk has been linked to iron deficiency in babies and toddlers, so you should avoid giving them any, as this may worsen the condition. You should also look for food supplements that are rich in iron to ensure that they are receiving a sufficient amount of iron in their diet. Finally, talk to your baby’s doctor to determine whether iron supplements are a good solution.