More On Iron and Mood

Iron is an essential trace mineral required for a number of functions. Most notably, iron is involved in the transport of oxygen and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. These two functions suggest that a deficiency of iron could affect energy levels within the brain, and that iron deficiency may therefore have a significant effect on neurochemistry and mood. A number of studies have investigated the effects of dietary iron on mood and cognition in iron deficient subjects. In one study, iron deficient women were fed a high iron diet which provided 2.25 mg of absorbed iron per day (the recommended intake) in the form of meat, or a ferrous sulphate iron tablet providing 105 mg per day of iron. Following 12 weeks of treatment the diet and supplement group both showed significant improvements in cognition and mood compared to the placebo group, suggesting that the higher iron intake had a beneficial effect on brain physiology. Other benefits such as a reduction in fatigue were also seen in the iron groups.  

iron fatigue mood anxiety

Iron is most often associated with physical fatigue, but what is not often considered is that fatigue can also affect the brain. Mental fatigue can in turn lead to mood changes and poor cognition, which may explain the beneficial effects of iron supplements in this regard. Highly absorbable forms of iron such as iron bisglycinate may be more beneficial that inorganic forms such as ferrous sulphate.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Patterson, A. J., Brown, W. J. and Roberts, D. C. 2001. Dietary and supplement treatment of iron deficiency results in improvements in general health and fatigue in Australian women of childbearing age. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 20(4): 337-342

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, Depression, Iron, Mood. Bookmark the permalink.