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Home :: Iron

Iron - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Acid/Alkaline :: Acid -forming

What is Iron?

Iron, a trace mineral, supplies energy to every cell in the body. It is a key component of hemoglobin, the blood's oxygen-carrying pigment. Iron is also found in myoglobin, which supplies oxygen to muscles, and in compounds that keep the immune system strong. Iron is the mineral found in the largest amounts in the blood.

Uses and Benefits of Iron

  • Essential for the formation of hemoglobin, myoglobin and many enzymes, necessary for the formation of red blood cells, and helps fight stress and disease.
  • Iron affects the release of the adrenal hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone increases sodium levels. This aids alkalization and balances potassium.
  • Works with glucose and fructose as well as with some vitamins (E, C, etc.) and some amino acids.
  • Iron strengthens the immune system and increases resistance to colds, infections and disease.
  • It is the oxygen-carrying component of the blood.

Other possible uses in body: growth, reproduction, teeth, skeletal, liver, lipids, cholesterol. Vitamin E and zinc, taken in large doses, interfere with the absorption of iron. Caffeine from coffee, tea or soft drinks interferes with the absorption of iron. Excessive phosphorus consumption in people who eat lots of canned food or in people who drink many soft drinks may block absorption. Excessive sweating, or rapid food transit time through the intestines can reduce iron. Low iron builds high lead and visa versa. Lead interferes with hemoglobin formation and can create iron deficiency anemia.

Recommended Dosage of Iron

The Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron are :-

  • Adults - 10 to 15 mcg.
  • Children - 10 mcg.

Deficiency Symptoms of Iron

  • Slight iron deficiency (that does not affect red blood cell counts) may cause tiredness, headache, slower running times in competitive runners, weakness, difficult menstruation, irritability, depression and sleeplessness or troubled sleep.
  • Severe iron deficiency may cause anemia or low red blood cell counts, constipation, mouth soreness, brittle nails, pale skin or difficulty in breathing.
  • Other possible symptoms could be food cravings for "nonfood items" such as ice, clay or starch, heart disease, impaired mental skills.
  • Can affect job performance, mood and memory.
  • Increases intestinal irritation and inflammation.

Toxicity: Taking too much iron can cause un­healthy iron deposits in the body, and can lead to the production of free radicals. The buildup of iron in the tissues has been associated with a rare disease known as hemochromatosis. Overdoses can cause bleeding from the stomach or intestines, a drop in blood pressure, liver damage, reduced resistance to infections, and could be fatal for young children.

Rich Food Sources of Iron

Fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables, nuts (including almonds, hazelnuts, etc.), oranges, grapes, bananas, kelp/dulse, raisins, figs, beets, carrots, tomato juice, asparagus, parsley, lima beans, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, broccoli, watercress, blackberries, whole grain products, root vegetables, watercress, spinach, raw broccoli, green peas, avocados, prunes, raisins, sesame and pumpkin seeds.

Toxic sources: industry, old plumbing pipes, water supplies, environmental sources, including air, cast-iron pots and pans.



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