Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. And, new studies led by a University of Minnesota pediatrician have demonstrated that a lack of iron can have dangerous and permanent effects on the growth and development of the human brain. Dr. Michael Georgieff says iron allows the brain to efficiently produce mood-regulating chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.:

“From a brain standpoint what you would see is people become very moody. Toddlers who are iron deficient are very disengaged. Newborns who are iron deficient don’t attach as well. So it kind of depends on the age.”

Fortunately, iron deficiency can be detected through blood tests and completely eliminated with supplements and iron-rich foods. Dr. Georgieff says it’s important for people diagnosed with iron deficiency at any age to follow through with their doctor’s orders.