Iron is an essential mineral that is part of all cells in your body. The iron in red blood cells is located in hemoglobin, which is a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Having too little iron leads to anemia because your body lacks enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen. Iron deficiency can also cause tingling of your arms and legs.
Tingling of the arms and legs is an abnormal sensation that can result from low levels of iron, according to MedlinePlus. When you have low iron levels, the bone marrow is not able to make enough red blood cells, which leads to low blood volume and decreased blood flow to tissues. Reduced blood supply to your hands and feet causes the tingling sensations. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing tingling sensations in your extremities. The doctor will assess your general health to determine the cause. If she determines the sensations result from iron deficiency, she may prescribe iron supplements and also advise you to eat more iron-rich foods.
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Natural Sources of Iron
Daily consumption of iron-rich foods can prevent iron deficiency. Animal foods contain a well-absorbed form of iron than plant foods. Increase intake of iron-rich meats such as beef liver, lean red meat, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and turkey. Non-meat iron-rich foods include cereals, beans and fresh vegetables such as spinach, kale, beans and peas. If you are a woman of child-bearing age, increase intake of iron-rich foods to compensate for iron lost in heavy menstrual periods.
Take iron supplements only under the supervision of your doctor. Iron is best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach. However, if you experience stomach discomfort, you may take the supplements with food. Avoid taking iron supplements with milk, dairy products, tea and coffee. These foods interfere with the absorption of iron. Take liquid iron supplements using a straw to prevent staining your teeth.
Iron supplements may cause common side effects such as metallic taste, heartburn, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headache. Adverse effects of iron supplements include breathing problems, skin rashes and hives, swelling of the face, mouth and throat, chest pain, backache, chills, fever and fainting, according to MayoClinic.com. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these adverse effects.