The question of whether or not there is a connection between low iron and yeast infection, particularly in women, is rather complex. But here, in simple language, you’ll find the answer as well as what actions to take.
Yeast infections are more common in individuals whose diets are usually low in iron. They are also very common in women during heavy menstruation when iron levels in the body diminish considerably. So there does seem to be a link between iron deficiency and yeast infections…
Yeast infections are caused by a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans, which is normally kept under control by your body’s good bacteria. Only when it over-grows out of control does it turn into an infection.
So this good bacteria v bad bacteria ‘balance’ is important. But there are several things that can upset this balance. Two of them are a lowered immune system and friendly bacteria depletion…
1. Iron Deficiency and Your Immune System
One of the things that can affect your immune system is anemia which happens as a result of iron deficiency. So low iron, which leads to anemia, can compromise your immune system and so upset the delicate balance. This can then trigger an overgrowth of Candida leading to a yeast infection.
2. Bacteria and Iron Deficiency
Under healthy conditions, with optimum levels of iron, your beneficial bacteria work effectively. But so can the Candida, except that, the Candida needs ‘free’ iron to invade your body’s cells. And, in a healthy body, a protein called ‘Lactoferrin’ binds to the iron, so preventing the Candida from growing.
However, individuals with anemia have low levels of Lactoferrin. And because they have low iron their beneficial bacteria are less effective as well. So the balance is upset further still allowing the Candida to grow and spread.
So, if you suffer from low iron and you have a yeast infection then the two could be linked. For your general health in any case you need to get your iron back to optimum levels. And the best way is through diet…
Great sources of iron are; liver (especially), red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, whole grains, dark green leaf vegetables, peas, beans, potatoes, rice, and nuts. But ensure that the food you consume is sugar-free, because sugar is a staple diet of Candida.
You may also consider taking iron supplements but you must consult with your doctor before doing so. Another aid is vitamin C, which helps to absorb the iron. But again, talk to your doctor first to make sure that whatever you do is appropriate for your particular case, including your diet.