Some Facts About Iron
Some Facts About Iron
The human body contains approximately four grams of iron. Our daily iron need is ten milligrams for adult men, 15 to 20 milligrams for menstruating and pregnant women and 12 milligrams for children. Vitamin C, copper and the amino acids in proteins all enhance the absorption of iron, whereas excessive calcium interferes with the absorption. Iron blocks the absorption of Vitamin E and therefore the two supplements must be taken several hours apart.
Over half the body’s iron is present in the red blood cells as a constituent of hemoglobin, the protein which transports oxygen to the body tissues. Iron, the red metal lends its color the hemoglobin giving blood its red color.
- Difficulty in thinking clearly and quickly
- Difficulties in remembering occurrences and details
- Difficulty in calculating mentally
- Feeling of depression, dizziness and weakness
- Shortness of breath quickly when running
- Brittle, lusterless , flattened or even spoon-shaped fingernails
- Swollen ankle
- Loss of hair
- White ear lobes
Any of the symptoms above may indicate iron-deficiency anemia. Lack of iron leads to insufficient oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. The red blood cells , smaller and paler than normal cannot transport sufficient oxygen to the body. The oxygen-deprived muscles lead to exhaustion and the oxygen-deprived brain lead to the diminished acuity, forgetfulness and depression of iron-deficiency anemia.
Iron deficiency is common but rarely dangerous. Excess of iron or a condition known as siderosis is infrequent but presents an increasing danger. Excessive iron storage occurs because of overabundance of iron intake or from frequent blood transfusions. Cider and wine are also significant sources of iron in the United States and Europe, containing 2 to 16 milligrams or more of iron per liter. The alcohol increases the absorption of ironremarkably. Most iron is stored in liver but when overabundant it is also found in the pancreas, heart, adrenals and skin to which it gives a bronze color. Excessive iron causes primarily liver damage and diabetes, the latter because the pancreas is involved.
Overabundance of iron can cause scurvy because iron inactivates Vitamin C.
Sources of Iron
- Meats particularly liver and other organ meats
- Dark green and leafy vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Whole grains
The usual adult dosage of commonly prescribed iron sulfate or iron gluconate is one325-milligram tablet three or four times a day. It is best absorbed if taken between meals Along with 300 milligrams of Vitamin C. These inorganic iron salts can cause nausea,constipation or diarrhea. Chelated iron or iron attached to soybean protein found in health food stores is more efficiently absorbed, allowing lower dosages which are better tolerated by stomach.
In the treatment of iron deficiency, iron supplements should betaken for six months to achieve maximum effects. Overdose of iron can cause sudden toxicity.
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