Iron’s role in our body
Iron plays a large part in delivering oxygen to the organs and muscles of our body.
The iron molecules in hemoglobin bind the oxygen molecules as the blood flows to the lungs. Next, they bring oxygen to the relevant organs. Iron also affects many other processes in the body, including the nervous system, where it ensures the proper physical and intellectual functioning of a human being. Iron activates the cells of the immune system, and the detoxification process in the liver is supported by this element.
Where in the body is iron absorbed? In the duodenum and small intestine. Interestingly, our bodies have the ability to store iron for later use in the following forms: ferritin (found in the liver) and hemosiderin.
Iron in the diet
Is there enough iron in your diet? Iron is one of the essential nutrients needed for the body to properly function.
One of the most common deficiencies is iron deficiency. Iron is constantly needed, our body uses it around the clock, which is why it is so important to replenish its consumption. The causes of iron deficiency include:
✓ iron absorption disorders
✓ its excessive loss (as a result of gastrointestinal bleeding, surgery, or heavy menstruation)
✓ increased demand (e.g. during pregnancy)
✓vegetarian / vegan diet - iron from plant sources is less digestible than from meat
Blood tests are recommended if iron deficiency is suspected. Iron deficiency can cause:
✓ pale skin
✓ increased hair loss
It is worth mentioning that the most digestible source of iron is iron which can be found in food. There are two types of iron found in food - heme iron and nonheme iron. Our body more easily absorbs the iron found in animal products, it is called heme iron. Iron, which is present, among others, in plant products and at the same time is more difficult for our body to absorb, is called non-heme iron.
Heme iron can be found in meat, egg yolks, giblets, shrimps, and pork liver. Good plant sources of this element can be found in nuts, legumes, beetroot, beetroot, parsley, watercress, wheat bran, whole grain bread, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, cacao, dates, dried apricots, plums, and raisins.
Foods rich in vitamin C can facilitate the absorption of nonheme iron. It is therefore worth including citrus, apples, pears, and vegetables such as peppers, which have a lot of vitamin C in your diet.
The above products can facilitate the absorption of iron, however, there are also products that make this process difficult for our bodies. If you are at the stage of supplementing iron deficiency, it is worth limiting coffee, tea, chocolate, nuts, soy protein, and wheat bran.
If you do not know how to compose a delicious diet that suits your needs, you can always consult a dietitian. These specialists will take into consideration any deficiencies you may have and will create a diet that is unique for you.
Appropriate iron intake
The dosage depends on your body's needs and the needs depend on your age, sex, and many other circumstances. To find out the correct dosage for your body, see your doctor and do some basic blood tests to find out if you are deficient.
Depending on the lifestyle, type of diet, and test results, the doctor will select the appropriate supplement and dosage and may suggest a visit to a dietitian who will compose a diet tailored to your needs, both doctors and dietitians can suggest positive changes that can bring a lot of good into our lives.
- Reading time: 2 min
- Date: 03.05.2022