Iron is a much required mineral for the human body. Though total iron in an adult may be about one teaspoon full, for all vital actions it is necessary.
It is required for carrying oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body.
Much of this mineral in the body is present in blood.
The iron in the blood is present in the red blood corpuscles in the form of a protein called hemoglobin.
When hemoglobin is exposed to oxygen it becomes oxyhaemoglobin and an oxygen carrier.
In the cells, hemoglobin gives up the oxygen, takes up the carbon dioxide and transports it to lungs for expulsion from the body.
Iron in muscles helps to store up and use oxygen.
In enzymes and in many biological functions it plays a major role.
Iron deficiency or anemia is a nutritional deficiency very much prevalent in all populations.
Infants and women are the most affected.
Anemic person gets easily tired and feels weak.
His performance in work or school is affected.
Cognitive and social behavior is affected.
He becomes susceptible to infections as his immunity is decreased.
If a pregnant woman is anemic, physical and mental growth of the fetus is affected.
Iron deficiency can affect the memory and mental function of children and adults.
This mineral is available from natural food sources both of plant and of animal origin.
Red meat, lean meat, organ meat, fish and egg are some of the animal sources of this mineral.
Green leafy vegetables,peas, beans,nut and many fruits contain non-heme iron.
The animal source is very easily absorbed.
Vitamin C helps in the absorption of non-heme iron.
Care must be taken when supplemental iron is consumed.
Excess of it can cause toxicity.
Dizziness, fatigue, nausea and weight loss are some of the symptoms.