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iron supplements

If the brain is the body’s hungriest organ, iron is its maître d’. Hemoglobin, which is iron-based, transports oxygen to the brain, making this one of the most essential nutrients for supporting cognitive function.

Iron is also necessary for the production of dopamine and serotonin, which regulate mood, focus, and pleasure. And it’s a key ingredient of myelin, the insulation around our nerves that speeds conduction between neurotransmitters.

Given all these roles, low iron levels can impair emotional and behavioral functioning, and they’ve been linked to brain fog and low energy. That’s why functional nutritionist Jesse Haas, CNS, LN, often recommends a complete blood-cell count to assess for iron deficiencies when clients are struggling with energy, focus, and mood.

How to Supplement: Iron sup­plements are widely available in pill form, but it’s best to have your levels assessed by your healthcare provider before you start taking them. Generally speaking, adult men should consume 8 mg daily and women 18 mg, but our iron requirements are highly individual. They vary based on age, biological sex, and diet — a menstruating woman needs more iron than a postmenopausal one; vegetarians need nearly twice as much iron as those who consume meat, and so on.

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Looking to enhance the mental health of a loved one — or yourself? We’ve curated a range of articles to help you support your mental health needs.

This was excerpted from “8 Key Supplements to Boost Your Mental Health — Naturally,” which was published in Experience Life.

Alexandra Smith, MA, LPCC

Alexandra Smith, MA, LPCC, is a licensed professional clinical counselor in Minneapolis and an Experience Life contributing editor.

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