Vital Role of Iron
Last Edited: June 22nd, 2012
Iron is a needed mineral, that means our body cannot create it, and is accountable for many significant purposes of the body. Lack of iron can harm many vital body functions.  Iron deficiency is one of the well-known nutritional deficiencies and the leading cause of anemia in the US. That is why understanding your iron dietary needs will avoid you from having lack of iron and decrease your risk from Anemia. 


Iron is necessary in the development of the protein hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body in red blood cells, and myoglobin, which carries oxygen in the muscles. Furthermore, as part of several enzymes, iron also aids to normalize metabolism, body temperature, immune function and cognitive development.

Iron Deficiency
Lack of iron in your body can cause IDA or iron-deficiency anemia. Mild issues of iron deficiency typically have no signs or symptoms, but signs and symptoms occur when the situation turn out to be more severe. These include extreme exhaustion, light skin, faintness, annoyance, dizziness, cold hands and feet, brittle nails, irregular heartbeat and recurrent infections. Infants and children with iron-deficiency anemia might suffer from poor appetite, slowed growth and development and behavioral problems.
Lack of iron in pregnant women rises the risk of having pre-term babies or small babies.

Some particular situations are occasionally seen in individuals with iron deficiency. Pica, a disorder related with strange cravings for non-nutritive materials such as ice, dirt or starch, is rarely found in individuals with iron-deficiency anemia. Agitated legs syndrome is also originate in some individuals with iron-deficiency anemia. This disorder causes a tingling sensation in the legs and thus a strong urges to move them.


Lack of Iron can certainly avoided with a sensible diet with foods that are rich in iron. The best nutritional sources of iron are red meats, especially beef and liver. Poultry and seafoods such as mollusks, salmon, sardine and mussels are also good sources. Non-meat foods that are rich in iron are beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans, nuts and nut butter, eggs and dried fruits. Certain handled foods are iron-fortified, such as cereal and bread.

Management of iron deficiency comprises nutritive changes and use of supplements or drugs. In severe cases, blood transfusion or iron shots may be required.

Who are at risk?

People that are at greater risk of increasing iron deficiency either have an increased need of iron or have a lessened iron absorption or intake. Pregnant females, infants, children and teens need extra iron for growth and development. Females of child-bearing age have blood loss from menstruation and thus have a bigger need of iron. Vegetarians and vegans have lessened iron intake from meat and are at higher risk of iron-deficiency anemia. Also, people who have internal bleeding, such as those who have a bleeding ulcer, colon cancer and urinary tract bleeding and those who use aspirin or other pain medicines regularly are also at risk. Moreover, your body may not be able to absorb iron if you have intestinal surgery or intestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease.

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