Benefits of Iron for health

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Iron is an important mineral that is involved in various bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in the blood. This is essential for providing energy for daily life. Good sources of iron include red meat, offal and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.

Iron is lost from the body through shedding intestinal cells, sweat and blood loss. About one third of the world’s population is iron deficient. Menstruating women are at greater risk than men and postmenopausal women for iron deficiency. It is thought that up to five per cent of the Australian population has iron deficiency anaemia.

Some of the many roles of iron include:

  • Oxygen transport – red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a complex protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Haemoglobin is partly made from iron, and accounts for about two thirds of the body’s iron.
  • Myoglobin – a special protein that helps store oxygen in muscle cells. Myoglobin contains iron and is responsible for the red colour of muscle.
  • Enzymes – many enzymes throughout the body contain iron, including those involved in energy production. Enzymes are catalysts (increase rate of chemical reaction) that drive many cell functions.
  • Immune system – proper functioning of the immune system relies, in part, on sufficient iron. The immune system helps us fight infection.

Certain people are at increased risk of iron deficiency, including:

  • babies given cow’s or other milk instead of breastmilk or infant formula
  • toddlers, particularly if they drink too much cow’s milk
  • teenage girls
  • menstruating women, especially those who have heavy periods
  • women using an IUD (because they generally have heavier periods), pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • people with poor diets such as alcoholics, ‘fad dieters’ or people with eating disorders
  • vegetarians or vegans
  • athletes in training
  • people with intestinal worms
  • regular blood donors
  • people with conditions that predispose them to bleeding, such as gum disease or stomach ulcers, polyps or cancers of the bowel
  • people with chronic diseases such as cancer, auto-immune diseases, heart failure or renal (kidney) disease
  • people taking aspirin as a regular medication
  • people who have a lower than normal ability to absorb or use iron, such as someone with coeliac disease.

Iron deficiency is common. Iron is an essential mineral for our bodies and when iron levels are too low it can cause anaemia. People can get iron deficiency for many different reasons. It’s important to find the cause of the deficiency, so the cause can be treated as well as the deficiency itself.

If you think you might have low iron levels, see your doctor. The only reliable way of telling if you are iron deficient is through a blood test. If you are iron deficient, it’s important to find out why you have iron deficiency and what you can do about it.

What is iron deficiency?

Iron is an essential mineral. All your cells need it to survive. The body can’t make iron, so you need to get it from food.

When there isn’t enough iron stored in your body, you have iron deficiency.

Iron’s main role is in red blood cells, where it helps make a protein called haemoglobin. Haemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood that moves from your lungs to all your cells so they can work properly.

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?

If you have iron deficiency, you may feel tired. You can find it hard to concentrate, and hard to motivate yourself to do the things you need to do.

If your iron levels get so low that you become anaemic, you can get a range of symptoms, including feeling:

  • extremely tired
  • short of breath
  • your heart beating fast or irregularly, or both
  • dizzy and light-headed

Who is at risk of iron deficiency?

Some people need more iron than others. The people who need most iron include children, teenagers, pregnant women and breast feeding women.

Some other groups at risk of iron deficiency include females of menstruating age (girls and women who have periods), vegetarians and vegans, babies fed on cow’s milk, and endurance athletes.

By using a transdermal route of administration, the ingredients can bypass the stomach, which can improve treatment efficacy and reduce side effects. This is particularly helpful for people that have a impact on the gastrointestinal problems, and bariatric surgery.

CHEMICAL STRUCTURE OF IRON :

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