What is Iron?
Iron is one of the micro-minerals, or trace minerals, essential to good health. Iron helps you to produce healthy red blood cells. When your body doesn't get enough iron, it can't produce enough red blood cells to keep you healthy, and a condition known as anemia may result.
Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common form of malnutrition in the world, affecting more than 2B people. Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, irritability, an increase in colds, flu, and other infections, as well as possible learning disabilities. Anemia can be corrected by increasing the amount of iron in the blood.
Growing children, young women, and women who are pregnant require the highest amounts of iron. Some good food sources for iron include organ meats like liver, beef, beans and peas.
What does Iron do?
Iron is a building block for two proteins: hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in the blood, and myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in muscle tissue. Iron also performs other functions:
- stimulates your immune system
- increases your energy levels and ability to exercise
- improves the body's ability to transport oxygen throughout the body.
How do I make the most out of taking iron?
Eat foods rich in iron including eggs, red meat, and dark leafy green vegetables. If you're an athlete or a menstruating female, you might be at risk for an iron deficiency, and a dietary supplement could be a good choice for you. Many women also suffer from a lack of iron intake. The benefits of iron as a supplement for people suffering iron-deficiency anemia are well known, and if you are in a risk group—as an athlete, menstruating female, or most women—you might consider a daily iron supplement.
To make the most of your iron supplement, take iron and vitamin C together. Vitamin C can increase the body's absorption of iron by as much as 30 percent. Copper, manganese, and molybdenum also enhance iron absorption; so check the label of your supplement to see if it includes these elements.
Avoid taking antacids at the same time you take your iron supplement because acid in the stomach also improves the absorption of iron in the body. Zinc and vitamin E also inhibit iron's absorption.
Vitamin B 6
Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B 17
Minerals: An Overview