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Chapter 7 : Iron

Iron arrow_upward

  • Iron is a mineral found in every cell of the body.
  • Iron is considered an essential mineral because it is needed to make part of blood cells.
  • In bloodstream, iron helps to promote oxygen flow and cell growth.

  • Functions of Iron arrow_upward

  • Oxygen Distribution:
    • Iron serves as the core of the hemoglobin molecule, which is the oxygen-carrying component of the red blood cell.
    • Red blood cells pick up oxygen from the lungs and distribute the oxygen to tissues throughout the body.
    • The ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen is attributed to the presence of iron in the hemoglobin molecule.
    • If we lack iron, we will produce less hemoglobin, and therefore supply less oxygen to our tissues.
    • Iron is also an important constituent of another protein called myoglobin.
    • Myoglobin, like hemoglobin, is an oxygen-carrying molecule, which distributes oxygen to muscles cells, especially to skeletal muscles and to the heart.
  • Energy Production:
    • Iron also plays a vital role in the production of energy as a constituent of several enzymes, including iron catalase, iron peroxidase, and the cytochrome enzymes.
    • It is also involved in the production of carnitine, a nonessential amino acid important for the proper utilization of fat.
    • The function of the immune system is also dependent on sufficient iron.

    Sources of Iron arrow_upward

  • Good sources of dietary iron include:
    • Red meat
    • Poultry
    • Lentils
    • Beans
    • Leafy vegetables
    • Pistachios
    • Tofu
    • Fortified bread
    • Fortified breakfast cereals

    Daily Dose of Iron arrow_upward





    7-12 months

    11 mg


    1-3 years

    7 mg

    4-8 years

    10 mg

    9-13 years

    8 mg

    14-18 years

    Girls: 15 mg

    Boys: 11 mg


    Women: 19-50 years

    18 mg

    Pregnant women: 14-50 years

    27 mg

    Lactating women: 14-18 years

    10 mg

    Lactating women: 19- 50 years

    9 mg

    Men: 19-50 years

    8 mg

    Everyone: Over 50 years

    8 mg

    Deficiency Symptoms of Iron arrow_upward

  • Too little iron can impair body functions, but most physical signs and symptoms do not show up unless iron deficiency anemia occurs.
  • Someone with early stages of iron deficiency may have no signs or symptoms.
  • This is why it is important to screen for too little iron among high risk groups.
  • Signs of iron deficiency anemia include:
    • Feeling tired and weak
    • Decreased work and school performance
    • Slow cognitive and social development during childhood
    • Difficulty maintaining body temperature
    • Decreased immune function, which increases susceptibility to infection
    • Glossitis (an inflamed tongue)

    Excessive Intake and Toxicity Symptoms arrow_upward

  • High iron content in the body has been linked to cancer and heart disease.
  • Iron supplements are the leading cause of death in children - so keep the supplements out of the reach of children.
  • A fatal dose for children could be as little as 600 milligrams.
  • Iron can be poisonous and if too much is taken over a long period could result in liver and heart damage, diabetes and skin changes.
  • Large iron supplementation may also contribute to the hardening of arteries, heart disease and reducing zinc absorption.

  • Thank You from Kimavi arrow_upward

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