Have you ever known someone who craves eating ice or non-food items such as clay or dirt? These can both be symptoms of iron deficiency.
The craving to eat things such as clay, dirt or other non-food items is called pica. An abnormal craving to eat ice is called pagophagia.
Other clues to iron deficiency include but are not limited to pallor, brittle nails, fatigue, headaches, fainting, irritability, shortness of breath, a sore tongue, and canker sores.
Blood loss, pregnancy, a poor ability to absorb nutrients, and lack of iron intake can all potentially lead to iron deficiency anemia. Iron is supplemented in many commercial US foods, so a lack of iron intake is not very common in the US.
If you are experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency or are at risk for iron deficiency, please talk to a health professional about being tested before self-treating.