The Issue: A 21-year-old college student who plays sports always tries to stay lean and perform at her best. She only eats low-fat, nutrient-dense foods and is primarily vegetarian, although she still eats eggs and nonfat dairy. At the beginning of the year, the woman was in the best physical condition of her life; however, lately, she’s noticed that she’s feeling fatigued and is having difficulty finding the energy for class every day, and is experiencing shin splints that are inferring with sports. She’s also looking pale, gets frequent headaches and is irritable. This may be because she’s having trouble sleeping lately. This winter has also been particularly cold, and the woman can’t seem to warm up. She’s getting a bruise with every little bump and any little cut becomes infected and takes a long time to heal.
The woman suspects that because of her diet, she may need iron and begins taking a 60 mg iron supplement daily. Because she’s heard that vitamin C enhances iron absorption, she takes the supplement with her morning orange juice. She also tries to eat more iron-rich foods while maintaining her vegetarian diet, and she loves spinach and eats it daily. The woman quickly begins to feel better, but this doesn’t last long. After a month, her symptoms return, and additional symptoms develop. The woman was constipated when she first began iron supplementation, but lately, she’s experiencing nausea and diarrhea.
Please Solve: Even after her dietary changes and taking an iron supplement, what are the causes of her symptoms?
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