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Mineral of the Week: Iron

Filed Under: Vitamins and Minerals at 10:17 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Meat: good source of ironIron is an essential mineral to most known organisms. It’s is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of the blood. Iron helps cells store oxygen and, therefore, people lacking iron will get tired easily since their bodies are in need of more oxygen.

Without enough iron, the ATP (adenosine triphospate) process cannot be properly synthesized.  This process consists in generating fuel for the human body, but iron-deficient people may become fatigue even when their hemoglobin levels are normal.

Several foods are rich in iron: red meat, poultry, oysters, fish, dried fruit, leaf vegetables and breakfast cereals. Iron in meat, heme iron, is more easily absorbed than iron in vegetables.

However, excessive iron can be dangerous, as the mineral can be toxic, damaging DNA, proteins and other cellular components.

How do you know how much iron should be taken?

First, check out your diet. If you eat red meat and poultry on a weekly basis, most likely, you are getting enough iron. Vegetarians should definitely “keep an eye” on their iron levels since high amounts of iron are not absorbed from vegetables.

Second, most multi vitamins offer the same formula but one has iron in it and the other one is “iron free”. How do you know which one is the best for you?

Check their labels, some multis offer 18mg of iron, the daily recommended dosage. Some other companies lower this amount to 5-9mg. On the other hand, women’s multis may have as much as 40mg of iron on their formulas. If you don’t need any iron, then no problem, buy the iron-free formula.

If in doubt, ask your doctor if you should be taking iron or not. Keep in mind iron can be hard on your stomach as well. Look for products that can provide iron without any stomach irritation or constipating effects.

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2 Responses to “Mineral of the Week: Iron”

  1. Scottzz says:

    Thanks for the post. I think I get enough iron but not enough vitamins…a multivitamin may help me.

  2. denise says:

    Can you let me know the affects of too much iron for men. We cook on cast iron pans every day. I was told this by someone and would like to verifiy it. Thanks.

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