Iron deficiency can be caused by a nutritional deficit of iron in the diet, by an underlying disease affecting the uptake and absorption of iron into the blood stream, or by substantial blood loss. The cells of the human body require iron for both mental and physical health, and when the body’s need for iron exceeds the supply of iron, the body becomes iron deficient.

There are two main states of iron deficiency that can lead to anaemia:

  • Absolute iron deficiency when the body’s iron stores are empty
  • Functional iron deficiency when the body’s iron stores are not empty, but release of iron from the stores is compromised

Iron deficiency anaemia is prevalent in patients suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)1,2. Other underlying causes of iron deficiency anaemia include loss of iron through acute or chronic bleeding, e.g. during surgery, during heavy menstruation, or after childbirth.

1. Mehdi U et al. Diabetes Care. 2009;32(7):1320-1326
2. Stein J et al. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010;7(11):599-610