Iron Supplements

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Although not usually associated with joint health, iron deficiency can result in acceleration of degenerative disc disease.

These are two great iron supplement options; one is gentle for those who have constipation issues, the other is combined with vitamin C for better absorption.

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Iron Deficiency Can Accelerate Disc Degeneration & Spinal Pain

Iron is essential for blood cells to carry oxygen. Many are familiar with deficiency resulting in anemia that can cause tiredness and shortness of breath. But can taking an iron supplement help with joint related neck or back pain?

A deficiency may go unnoticed for a period of time. When symptoms appear, you may notice weakness, fatigue, skin paleness, fast heartbeat, dizziness, headaches, cold hands and feet, a sore tongue, and brittle nails, among others. However, there can be back and neck pain associated with iron deficiency.

A 2018 study in the American Journal of Translational Research found iron deficiency can aggravate disc degeneration. If you are experiencing arthritis from degeneration, the authors found a link between iron and nucleus pulposus cell death process. The nucleus is the inner part of the disc.

Iron is implicated in many cell metabolic processes and the stability and maintenance of DNA. In the study, they found an iron containing gene in a subunit involving the breakdown of tissues found in association with degenerative disc disease. The authors concluded, “Proper iron supplementation may be an effective strategy to alleviate the symptoms of patients with IDD [Intervertebral Disc Degeneration].”

iron supplement

Disc degeneration is often involved with imaging signs of spinal osteoarthritis, with signs of inflammation, pain, limited motion, and can result in a pinched nerve and symptoms like sciatica. Accelerated degeneration is often seen with Modic type I rapid degeneration and disability from back or neck pain.

Iron supplement is usually not associated with joint health, but science shows how it is involved. Typically, deficiency can be corrected supplementation. All of the symptoms are ones that should be checked by your doctor, so you can be tested first to check your levels, however, it can be caused by a slow, long term gastrointestinal blood loss seen in the use of over the counter pain relievers, like aspirin or others often taken for arthritis.

Vegetarians may not get enough iron in their diet. Foods that can help are meats like poultry, red meat, seafood, pork and poultry. If you do not eat meat, vegetables like spinach and other dark, leafy greens, raisins or apricots – can be dried, beans, and pastas, cereals and breads that are fortified with iron.

Vitamin C can help with absorption, so some iron supplement formulas will also contain vitamin C. But absorption can be enhanced by taking with citrus juices, like orange juice. Or eating foods high in vitamin C like Melons, Broccoli, Peppers, Strawberries, Oranges, Tomatoes, and others.

So, iron should not be overlooked for joint health. Those with symptoms of back pain and/or neck pain and, have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or disc degeneration should talk with their health care provider to make sure levels are sufficient.

I recommend two types of iron supplement; one is the gentle support for those who are concerned with constipation, and the other is the one combined with vitamin C. Both are great quality and very affordable.

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.