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What is iron?

Iron is one of the most important minerals in the body, its main functions involve the production of haemoglobulin for the oxygenation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen around the body.

What are the benefits of iron?

It is a mineral found in the largest amounts in the blood and is essential for the function of many enzymatic reactions in the body for growth, a healthy immune system and energy production.

Oxygen in the blood

Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. Iron binds to oxygen, allowing red blood cells to transport it to organs and muscles for energy production. Without enough iron, it may lead to a condition called iron deficiency anemia, which can cause fatigue, weakness, and impaired cognitive function.

Energy and fatigue reduction

Iron is involved in the process of cellular respiration, where nutrients are converted into usable energy. It plays a role in the electron transport chain, a series of reactions that occur within the mitochondria of cells to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary energy source.

Immune function support

Iron is necessary for a healthy immune system. It is involved in the production and function of immune cells, such as lymphocytes and macrophages, which help defend the body against infections.

Brain health support

Iron is crucial for normal brain development and function, particularly during early childhood. It is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters, which are required for communication between brain cells (neurons).

Who is at risk for iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency may be caused by insufficient dietary intake. However, many other factors may contribute to a deficiency state such as intestinal bleeding including ulceration, a diet high in phosphorus, poor digestion including low stomach acid and excessive coffee and tea intake.

Menstruating women may be iron deficient in cases of menstrual heavy bleeding, or prolonged bleeding. In some cases, deficiency of B6 or B12 may contribute to iron deficiency, affecting the size of red blood cells being produced.

Additionally, strenuous exercise and heavy perspiration may be depleting iron. Vegans and vegetarians may be at increased risk of deficiency or insufficient dietary intake.

Signs and symptoms of low iron

Brittle, dry hair/ hair loss
Digestive disturbances
Pale complexion, pale nails, and pale inner eye (lower waterline)
Brain fogginess

It is worth noting excessive iron levels may also be hazardous.

Food sources

Offal: liver has 23mg of iron per 100g making it the richest source. Also high in B12
Green leafy vegetables including: kale, microgreens produced from the seeds of vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, spinach, cabbage – have around 3.6-6mg per 100g
Figs, prunes, apricots contain around 2.7mg per 100g
Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and pumpkin seeds
Pulses: Soya beans have around 15mg per 100g, chickpeas have around 5mg per 100g
Whole grains such as quinoa: 1.5mg per 100g

Even if you don’t eat meat you can easily get enough iron from your diet.

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Energy , Fatigue/ Exhaustion , Anaemia (Iron Deficiency & B12 Deficiency) , Immunity , Dizziness , Hair Loss - Women , Brain Fog , Dark Circles (Under Eyes)

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