Iron or (Fe) is a type of mineral which is needed by the body for its processes and functions. The recommended dietary allowance or RDA of men is 10 milligrams and 15 milligrams for women. Dietary iron supplement and food help in acquiring the recommended iron needs of the body. There are many sources of iron in foods. Red meat, fish and poultry are fortified with the mineral. Breakfast cereals, beans and vegetables are also good sources of iron. Taking vitamin C along with iron supplements helps in the absorption of iron. Iron deficiency manifests different signs and symptoms. Part of the indication is feeling weak and tired, which can result to poor performance in work or in school. There could also be loss of appetite, pallor, and headaches. Lack of iron in the body could also lead to anemia. When the immune system is weak, there is an increased vulnerability to infection.
On the other hand, overdose in iron is also bad and can be fatal especially to small children. Parents should keep the iron supplements out of reach of children. It is always important to remember that children should be given the right multivitamins made for them. The formulation of multivitamins differs from a baby, a child, an adult, and also the elderly because of the different required amounts of vitamins and minerals. To be more familiar of the importance of iron in the body, below are some of its functions.
- Iron aids in the transport of oxygen in the body. It is found in the red blood cells particularly in the hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs then distributes it in all the other parts. Oxygen is very important as it is needed by the cells for them to function properly.
- Iron plays an important role during pregnancy. Women lose more amount of iron than males especially during pregnancy. That is why more iron is required for women during the child bearing years. The iron levels of the mother should never be below the required level because this mineral is responsible for the development and growth of the fetus.
- Iron has a role in the immune system since it is used in the production of the white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting diseases and infections in the body. It helps protect the body against the bad effects of free radicals
- Iron also helps in the proper utilization of vitamin B.
- Lastly, as said earlier, the body needs iron for it to function well. The liver, cell growth regulation, and hemoglobin formation are some examples that benefit in iron to continue having a healthy body.