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Iron: Health Benefits, Recommended Meals And Risk

Iron is a mineral for the proper functioning of the protein hemoglobin, which is essential for the transport of oxygen in the blood. Iron also plays a role in various other important processes in the body. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, it is the component of blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you do not have enough iron, your body cannot make enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen. The deficiency of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia.

Benefits of Iron for Health

Iron helps the body perform many important functions, including general strength and focus, gastrointestinal processes, immunity, and body temperature control.

The benefits of iron are often overlooked unless a person receives adequate amounts. Iron deficiency anemia can cause fatigue, palpitations, pale skin, and shortness of breath.

Healthy pregnancy

The amount of blood in pregnancy and the production of red blood cells increase dramatically to supply the growing fetus with oxygen and nutrients. As a result, the demand for iron also increases. Iron deficiency can be one of the main causes of iron deficiency during pregnancy. Iron deficiency can be another factor that affects the acceptability of iron or the way iron is absorbed.

Low iron intake during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight, as well as low iron stores and weakens the unconscious or behavioral disabilities in children. Pregnant women with low iron may be at higher risk of infection because iron also supports the immune system.

It is clear that iron supplements are needed for pregnant and iron-deficient women. However, research is ongoing into the possibility of offering extra iron to all pregnant women and even women with normal iron levels. It is advisable that all pregnant women should take 30 to 60 mg (mg) of iron supplement each day of pregnancy regardless of iron level.

Power of the body

Inadequate iron in the diet can affect the body’s ability to use energy. Iron carries oxygen to the muscles and the brain and is important for both mental and physical functioning. Low levels of iron can result in a lack of focus, increased irritability, and decreased stamina.

Good athletic performance

Iron deficiency is more common in athletes, especially young female athletes, than in those who do not lead active lifestyles. This is especially true for female endurance athletes such as long-distance runners. Some experts suggest that female endurance athletes should add an additional 10 milligrams of primary iron to the RDA daily for iron intake.

Iron deficiency in athletes reduces athletic performance and weakens immune function. Lack of hemoglobin can greatly reduce performance during physical activity, as it reduces the body’s ability to transport oxygen to the muscles.

Recommended Meals

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for primary iron depends on a person’s age and gender. Vegetarians also have different iron requirements.


  • 0 to 6 months: 0.27 milligrams (mg)
  • 7 to 12 months: 11 mg


  • 1 to 3 years: 7 mg
  • 4 to 8 years: 10 mg


  • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg
  • 14 to 18 years: 11 mg
  • 19 years and older: 8 mg


  • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg
  • 14 to 18 years: 15 mg
  • 19 to 50 years: 18 mg
  • 51 years and older: 8 mg
  • During pregnancy: 27 mg
  • When lactating between 14 and 18 years of age: 10 mg
  • When lactating at older than 19 years: 9 mg

Iron supplements can be helpful when people find it difficult to get enough iron through diet only, such as in plant-based diets. It is best to try to take adequate amounts in a single diet by eliminating or reducing the factors that can interfere with iron absorption and lead to iron-rich foods. This is because many iron-rich foods contain many more beneficial nutrients that work together to support overall health.

Risk of Iron

In adults, doses for oral iron supplementation may be 60 to 120 mg of primary iron per day. These doses are generally applicable to pregnant and severely iron-deficient women. An unstable stomach is a common side effect of iron supplements, so can help split the dose throughout the day.

Adults with a healthy digestive system have a much lower risk of iron overload from dietary sources. People with a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis are at higher risk of iron overload than unconditional people because they take in too much iron from their diet.

It can make iron in the liver and other organs. It can also produce free radicals that increase the risk of certain cancers that damage cells and tissues, including the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Taking an iron supplement containing more than 20 milligrams of alarminal iron at a time can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, especially if the supplement is not taken. In severe cases, iron overdose can lead to organ failure, internal bleeding, coma, seizures, and even death.

It is important to keep iron supplements out of the reach of children to reduce the risk of serious overdose. According to Poison Control, accidental inclusion of iron supplements was the most common cause of drug overdose deaths in children under 6 years of age until the 1990s.

Changes in the production and distribution of iron supplements have helped reduce accidental iron overdoses in children such as replacing sugar tablets with iron tablets with film covers, using child-proof bottle caps, and individually packaging high levels of iron. Between 1998 and 2002, only one death was reported from an iron overdose.

Some studies have suggested that excess iron intake may increase the risk of liver cancer. Other studies have shown that high iron levels may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Most recently, scientists have begun investigating the possible role of excess iron in the development and progression of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Iron can have a direct detrimental role in brain injuries that result from bleeding into the brain. Studies in rats have shown that high iron states increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

Iron supplements can reduce the availability of several actions including levodopa, which is used to treat unstable leg syndrome and Parkinson’s disease, and levothyroxine, which is used to treat low-functioning thyroid. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat reflux disease can reduce the amount of iron that can be absorbed by the body from both food and supplements.

Discuss taking iron supplements with a physician or healthcare practitioner, as some of the symptoms of iron overload may be associated with iron deficiency. Excess iron can be dangerous and is not recommended in the case of prescribed deficiencies or where a person is at high risk of iron deficiency.

It is better to take the best iron and achieve status through diet than supplements. This can reduce the risk of iron overdose and ensure a good intake of iron as well as other nutrients obtained in the diet.


What does iron do for your skin?

Iron, found in foods including spinach, oysters, and cashews, also helps make your skin glow by activating B vitamins.

Does Iron make your hair grow?

Iron helps boost circulation and carries oxygen to your hair's roots, which helps the hair grow faster and longer. An iron deficiency can lead to hair loss.

Does Iron cause weight gain?

Patients who receive iron treatment gain weight, if they do not make a diet or have a metabolic disease. So, iron therapy increases serum ferritin levels accompanying body weight.


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