Pica is disorder in which people crave and eat non-food items or items with no nutritional value, such as dirt, paper or ice. A common symptom of iron deficiency anemia is pica, and specifically, the strong urge to eat ice. For many people, after diagnosis and proper treatment for iron deficiency, the desire to eat ice goes away. Although ice and iron deficiency can go hand-in-hand, an ice craving can also occur for other reasons, and it is not the only symptom associated with low iron levels.


    Anemia is a condition where your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells moving through your blood. Without enough iron in your body, red blood cells cannot carry oxygen around efficiently, and the tissues in your body begin to suffer from this decreased oxygen supply. Iron deficiency anemia can occur for several reasons. Most commonly, iron deficiency occurs because of bleeding in the body, such as with excessive menstrual bleeding and bleeding in the digestive tract. It can also occur in people with intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, which might block iron absorption. People lacking enough iron-rich foods can also suffer from a deficiency.


    People with mild iron deficiency may not show any symptoms of the condition. If symptoms occur, they can include fatigue, headache and foggy thinking. As anemia worsens, a person may begin to feel lightheaded, pale, short of breath and have a sore tongue. Iron deficiency can also cause brittle nails and a blue coloration of the white portion of a person's eyes. The desire to eat ice can occur with any severity of iron deficiency anemia. Eating ice when you are suffering from iron deficiency anemia may also help ease other symptoms of the condition such as a sore tongue.


    To know if eating ice is related to iron deficiency, doctors perform blood tests. No specific test exists to determine the cause of pica, but testing for mineral deficiencies common to ice cravings including iron and zinc is possible. Blood tests can also help determine any additional signs of malnutrition. If a nutritional deficiency exists, changing your diet and possibly using supplements can help treat the condition, which may also help end your ice cravings.

    Dietary Iron Sources

    Good sources of dietary iron include foods that come from animals such as beef, eggs and shellfish. Your body absorbs iron from animal sources better than plant sources, which include dried fruit, dark, leafy green vegetables and baked beans. Pairing foods high in vitamin C with plant sources of iron will help increase the absorption of iron. Eat strawberries, which are high in vitamin C, in a spinach salad, which is rich in iron. It may take two months for treatments to correct iron deficiency anemia and relieve the related symptoms.

    Other Causes of Pica

    The desire to chew on ice may occur for reasons other than a mineral deficiency. Some people may develop pica related to a mental health or emotional problem, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or stress. Other times, pica occurs because of pregnancy and in people with developmental disabilities. People with a brain injury or a seizure disorder may also suffer from pica. The condition occurs in approximately 10 to 32 percent of children between the ages of 1 and 6, notes MedlinePlus.

    Does ice contain iron?
    However, excessive consumption of ice is frequently associated with iron deficiency. One hypothesis suggests that non-food items are consumed to correct deficiencies in iron, calcium, zinc or other micronutrients. However, this theory does not explain pagophagia, since ice contains almost no iron. more
    Does iron improve sleep?
    Our study shows a significantl positive correlation between sleep quality and iron supplement intake (p <0.17). A deficiency in iron has an effect on sleep quality, quantity and timing; iron also affects the modulation of REM sleep. more
    Is blood iron the same as metal iron?
    Iron in hemoglobin attracts oxygen molecules, allowing the blood to carry oxygen to body cells. Red blood cells are constantly being replaced, so it is important that there is a constant supply of iron in our diets. The iron in the cereal is pure iron-the same kind of iron that is found in nails and automobiles. more
    How much iron do you need to make a iron golem?
    You can make an Iron Golem in Minecraft using four iron blocks and a carved pumpkin. If you place four iron blocks in a "T" shape and put a pumpkin on top, the structure will turn into an Iron Golem. more
    Does peanut contain iron?
    Other sources of nonheme iron, with 0.7 milligrams or more, include: One-half cup of cooked split peas. 1 ounce of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, roasted cashews, or sunflower seeds. more
    Does B12 deplete iron?
    Vitamin B12 deficiency impairs DNA synthesis and causes erythroblast apoptosis, resulting in anaemia from ineffective erythropoiesis. Iron and cobalamin deficiency are found together in patients for various reasons. We have observed that cobalamin deficiency masks iron deficiency in some patients. more
    How much iron do you need daily for iron deficiency?
    For adults, the recommended daily dosage of oral iron products is 2 to 3 mg/kg of elemental iron (divided into three doses). For slow-release tablets, the recommended dosage is 50 to 100 mg of elemental iron per day. more
    What enhances iron absorption?
    Vitamin C. To increase iron absorption, include foods that are high in vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, in the same meal as iron-rich foods. For example, eat a salad containing peppers and tomatoes with a steak or lentils. Or, drink a glass of orange juice alongside a fortified breakfast cereal. more
    What level of iron requires an iron infusion?
    The literature indicates that high doses of iron are required, with levels of 1500 mg in nondialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease and up to 3600 mg in inflammatory bowel disease. more
    What iron level requires iron infusion?
    The literature indicates that high doses of iron are required, with levels of 1500 mg in nondialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease and up to 3600 mg in inflammatory bowel disease. more
    Does Cheerios have iron?
    Notably, 1 cup (28 grams) of Cheerios provides 45% of the Daily Value (DV) for iron, which many people are deficient in. This mineral plays a critical role in oxygen transport throughout your body ( 4 , 5 ). more

    Source: healthyeating.sfgate.com

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