Iron is an essential mineral and an important component of proteins involved in oxygen transport and metabolism. Iron is a mineral that the body needs to produce red blood cells.
Dietary iron is essential to our bodies. Iron is an essential mineral and an important component of proteins involved in oxygen transport and metabolism. Iron is a mineral that the body needs to produce red blood cells. Almost two thirds of the iron in your body is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body’s tissues. About 15% of your body’s iron is stored for future dietary needs, while the rest stores in your tissues and helps with body function.
When the body lacks iron, it cannot produce the number of red blood cells needed to keep you in good health. This condition is called iron deficiency (iron shortage) or iron deficiency anemia. Correct iron levels are essential for energy production and manufacturing of B vitamins within the body.
Although many people in North America get enough iron from their diet, some must take additional amounts to meet their needs. For example, iron is sometimes lost with slow or small amounts of bleeding in the body that you would not be aware of and which can only be detected by a professional. Your health professional can determine if you have an iron deficiency, what is causing the deficiency, and if an iron supplement is necessary.
Lack of iron may lead to unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, a decrease in physical performance, and learning problems in children and adults, and may increase your chance of frequent infection.
Some conditions may increase your need for iron. These include bleeding problems, burns, hemodialysis, intestinal diseases, stomach problems, stomach removal, and use of medicines to increase your red blood cell count. Inorganic iron is frequently associated with stomach upsets. However, complexing iron to an organic molecule such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) makes it a highly bioavailable form of iron complex suitable for people who are generally sensitive to iron supplementation. Most mineral ascorbates have an extremely high absorption rate and therefore need lower amounts for effectiveness.
In addition, infants, especially those receiving breast milk or low-iron formulas, may need additional iron. Increased need for iron supplements should be determined by your health care professional.