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Iron | Sources | health benefits | deficiency

Basic characteristics of iron in the body

Iron is an important mineral for our organism because it participates in the synthesis of the protein - hemoglobin, which is important in the transmission of oxygen to every cell in the body. 

Without oxygen there is no cellular life, metabolism, which means that without intermediaries iron, there would be no synthesis of hemoglobin; thus the red blood cells would be empty and vital functions would be endangered.

Besides hemoglobin, iron also entrance in myoglobin, protein binds into the muscles. 

Storehouses of iron in the body are liver, bone marrow and the spleen, which dumps ferritin, a deposition form of iron.

Interestingly, the iron in the foods is in the one-valent form, and to the body, more precisely in the intestine, iron transform into a second valence form. 

What is the role of iron in organism?

The main role of iron in the body is the transport of oxygen to all the organs, tissues and cells in the body.

The main role of iron in the body is the transport of oxygen to all the organs, tissues and cells in the body. 

In addition, iron has an impact:

- on the growth, development and the sharing of genetic material
- in the synthesis of certain hormones 
- in the metabolic functions
- it builds immune system

Sources of iron 

Foods of animal origin rich in iron are:

- Meat (beef, lamb, poultry, horse meat)
- Chicken and turkey meat
- Fish (trout, tuna, sardines, and mackerel)
- Liver and kidneys
- Seafood (octopus, scampi, oysters, clams)

Plant foods rich in iron are:

- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews)
- Legumes (beans, millet, lentils, peas, soybeans)
- Green vegetables (spinach, kale, asparagus)
- Beetroot
- Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, red fruit
- Eggs
- Dried apricots
- Oats

The degree of utilization of iron from food

The presence of phytate in plant foods (spinach) significantly reduces the absorption of iron in the intestine. 

The maximum absorption of iron is from meat, fish and eggs.

In order to increase the absorption of iron, it is necessary along with iron-rich foods to enter vitamin C, which helps the absorption of iron.

Also, you should know that during the intake of food rich in iron, or even iron supplements, you shouldn't drink coffee, tea, milk because it significantly impede absorption of iron.

They can be administered two hours after a meal or between meals, but not before or immediately after a meal.

The existence of gastritis and increased stomach acid reduces the absorption of iron. Bananas, potatoes and rice are foods of choice in order to neutralize the acid.

Lack of iron | Symptoms of iron deficiency

What are the most common reasons for the lack of iron in the body? 

Perhaps you suffer from gastritis and increased gastric acid secretion? Do you have heavy periods and outflow of blood? Torturing of hemorrhoids or internal bleeding? Keep your diet in which there is no meat? Do you often stay indoors and in dark areas? You have entered menopause or you are pregnant?

All these are some of the possible reasons for deficiency of iron in the body, which are being seen as the most common.

However, there are changes at the cellular and metabolic levels, which can also affect the deficit of iron in the body.

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?

- Weakness, fatigue, apathy
- Anemia
- Pallor, dark circles, constant tiredness
- Depression
- Superficial breathing and fatigue
- Drowsiness, unconsciousness
- Rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure
- Constipation
- Slowed growth in children
- Dry, brittle hair, brittle nails, dry and tired face

We can say these are a nonspecific symptoms and the reliable diagnosis of iron deficiency only revealed with a blood analysis.

How is iron deficiency treated?

Lack of iron in the body is treated simultaneously restoring the reserves of this mineral and elimination of the causes that led to the development of the disease. 

Oral dietary supplements of iron are used for increasing the level of iron in the blood and so call "Stuffing tissue reservoirs" and must be continuously entered several months, with a diet rich in iron and dietary supplements based on vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc and copper which will increase its absorption. 

In more serious cases, it requires the application of parenteral iron supplements or even blood transfusions.


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