Iron – All you need to know

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Iron is a mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of the human body. It plays a critical role in the production of hemoglobin, a protein in the blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is also necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system and for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to form connective tissue.

There are two main forms of iron found in food: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, and seafood, while non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fortified cereals.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, and it can lead to anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Iron is important to include in diet, especially for women who are pregnant or menstruating, as they have a higher requirement of iron. Iron-rich foods include:

  1. Red meat, poultry, and seafood
  2. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli
  3. Dried fruits such as raisins and apricots
  4. Beans, lentils, and tofu
  5. Fortified cereals and breads
  6. Nuts and seeds

It’s important to note that, consuming too much iron can lead to toxicity and serious health problems, so it’s best to stick to the recommended daily intake. It’s always best to consult with a doctor or dietitian to determine the right amount for you, and to have a well-balanced diet to ensure you’re getting the right amount of Iron.

Source of Iron

Iron can be found in a variety of foods, including:

  1. Animal-based sources: Meat, poultry, and seafood are good sources of heme iron. Heme iron, which is found in animal-based foods, is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron.
  2. Plant-based sources: Leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fortified cereals are good sources of non-heme iron. Spinach, kale, broccoli, and dried fruits such as raisins and apricots are particularly high in iron.
  3. Legumes: Beans, lentils, and tofu are also good sources of non-heme iron.
  4. Fortified foods: Some breakfast cereals, breads, and other food products are fortified with iron.

It’s worth noting that, to increase the body’s absorption of iron, it’s best to consume iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, or bell peppers. Also, it’s best to limit the intake of tea, coffee and other foods that can inhibit the absorption of iron, especially during meals.

It’s always best to consult with a doctor or dietitian to determine the right amount for you, and to have a well-balanced diet to ensure you’re getting the right amount of Iron.

Benefit of Iron

Iron has many important functions in the body, including:

  1. Hemoglobin production: Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
  2. Oxygen transport: Iron helps to transport oxygen to the body’s cells, which is necessary for the production of energy.
  3. Immune system function: Iron is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system, which helps to fight off infection and disease.
  4. Collagen production: Iron is necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to form connective tissue, including skin, tendons, and ligaments.
  5. Brain development: Iron is necessary for brain development and function, particularly in infants and children.
  6. Pregnancy: Iron is important for pregnant women, as it supports the growth and development of the fetus.
  7. Anemia prevention: Iron is important to prevent anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

It’s important to note that, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of Iron and how it may impact health. As always, it’s best to consult with a doctor or dietitian to determine the right amount for you. Also, high doses of Iron can be harmful, so it’s best to stick to the recommended daily intake.

Recommended Iron intake daily

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Iron varies depending on age, sex, and other factors. The following are the general recommended daily intake of Iron for different groups of people:

  1. Infants 0-6 months: 0.27 milligrams (mg) per day
  2. Infants 7-12 months: 11 mg per day
  3. Children 1-3 years: 7 mg per day
  4. Children 4-8 years: 10 mg per day
  5. Children 9-13 years: 8 mg per day for males and 8 mg per day for females
  6. Adolescents 14-18 years: 11 mg per day for males and 15 mg per day for females
  7. Adults 19-50 years: 8 mg per day for males and 18 mg per day for females
  8. Men 50+ years: 8 mg per day
  9. Women 50+ years: 8 mg per day
  10. Pregnant women: 27 mg per day
  11. Breastfeeding women: 9 mg per day

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines and it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the right amount of Iron for you. Some people may require more or less Iron depending on their individual needs and health conditions.

Iron Injection

Iron injections are a way to increase the body’s iron levels when oral supplements or a balanced diet is not sufficient. These injections are typically administered by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse, and are given intramuscularly (into the muscle) or intravenously (into a vein).

Iron injections are typically prescribed for individuals who are unable to absorb enough iron from oral supplements or a balanced diet due to certain medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal disorders or chronic blood loss, or for people who have a deficiency caused by genetic disorder.

It’s important to note that Iron injections should only be administered under the supervision of a healthcare professional, as an excessive intake of Iron can lead to toxicity and serious health problems. Also, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or dietitian to determine the right form and the right amount of Iron for you.

It’s worth noting that, while Iron injections are available, they are not the first choice of treatment. In most cases, a balanced diet and oral supplements are the preferred method of increasing the levels of Iron in the body. However, in some cases such as severe anemia, Iron injection is the only choice of treatment.