3 Things to Know: Iron Deficiency in Children

3 Things to Know: Iron Deficiency in Children

Article By: Dominica Dieffenbach, RDN

Dominica is a Registered Dietitian currently specializing in the special needs pediatric population. She has over 15 years of experience as an RD, working with a wide variety of patients to provide them with individualized medical nutrition therapy and education.

Iron, an essential mineral, is abundant in various food sources, both from animal and plant origins. Found in foods like beef, liver, poultry, lentils, beans, spinach, and fortified cereals, iron serves pivotal roles in your kiddo's body. It aids in the transportation of oxygen throughout the bloodstream, supports the production of red blood cells, and contributes to overall energy metabolism. Additionally, iron plays a crucial role in supporting proper cognitive function, immune system health, and the formation of certain hormones. Ensuring an adequate intake of iron-rich foods is vital.

Iron deficiency can present itself in unexpected ways for kiddos compared to adults. Some signs of iron deficiency in children can include:

  • Cognitive impairments
  • Slowed growth and developmental delay
  • Behavioral problems including shortened attention span
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances such as ice, dirt, paint, or starch (referred to as pica)

1) Did you know iron deficiency can affect kids’ noggins too?

As children go through a rapid rate of growth, they are more likely to experience the effects of iron deficiency with an estimated 14.4% of kids ages 1-2 and 3.7% of kids ages 3-5 being iron deficient. Iron deficiency can negatively affect various tissues, organs, and systems in the body in addition to causing anemia. The brain has a higher concentration of iron than any other metal, making it a critical nutrient involved in myelin formation and neurotransmitter synthesis.

2) Who is at risk for developing iron deficiency?

  • Premature or low birthweight infants
  • Babies who drink cow's milk before age 1
  • Breast-fed babies who aren't given iron-containing foods after age 6 months
  • Children ages 1 to 5 who drink more than 24 ounces of cow's milk a day
  • Children who have restricted diets due to food allergies or feeding difficulties
  • Children who don't eat enough iron-rich foods including meat, seafood, beans, raisins, or iron-fortified cereal
  • Children who are overweight or obese

3) How do we treat iron deficiency?

If it's hard to obtain from natural food sources, supplementation is an option your healthcare provider may recommend. The ideal iron supplement is one that:

  • Does not leave kids thinking they are chewing on metal but instead gives them the yummy taste of orange + Vitamin C (which also helps with enhanced absorption)
  • Does not cause GI distress because it is made with carbonyl iron, which is much better tolerated and is very gentle on kids’ tummies
  • Does not stain teeth like traditional iron drops/supplements
What is this perfect iron supplement you might ask? Renzo’s Iron Strong!

Renzo’s iron for kids is formulated differently than other iron supplements because our special form of iron is gentle on the tummy and absorbed more steadily. It’s the tasty Melty Tab kids will look forward to taking and the one that gives you  peace of mind.

Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.

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