Why is iron important?
I covered who may be more likely to have an iron deficiency and many of the symptoms in in part 1 of my iron posts. This time, let’s talk more about what can happen in a deficiency state and what iron does in the body. This shows how its presence, or lack of can affect our health on a larger scale.
Too little iron leads to Iron deficiency anaemia, this is well known, it what exactley is anaemia?
Iron deficiency anaemia is different to the anaemia caused by a deficiency in B12 or folate). In iron deficiency anaemia, our blood cells are under-developed and lack sufficient haemoglobin for oxygen transportation in the body. This means that our tissues such as brain and muscles that are dependent on oxygen become deprived.
🔴The body contains around 4g iron Iron.
🔴 Iron forms part of our haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of the red blood cell.
🔴 Red blood cells pick up oxygen from the lungs and distribute the oxygen to tissues throughout the body.If we lack iron, we will produce less hemoglobin, and therefore supply less oxygen to our tissues.
🔴 Iron is also an important constituent of another protein calle myoglobin. Myoglobin, like haemoglobin, is an oxygen-carrying molecule, which distributes oxygen to muscles cells, especially to skeletal muscles and to the heart.
🔴 Iron is needed to mane ENERGY in the mitochondria
🔴 Iron works with anti-oxidant enzymes in the human body acting as a co-factor, such as catalase.
🔴 Iron is involved in the production of carnitine, a nonessential amino acid important for the proper utilization of fat. The function of the immune system is also dependent on sufficient iron.
🔴 Iron is required for a number of vital functions, including growth, reproduction, healing, and immune function as well as DNA synthesis, again by driving the enzymes that perform these functions.
🔴 Iron is necessary for the production of antibodies, enzymes and white blood cells.
🔴 Iron is needed for the detoxification of some drugs and bacterial toxins.
🔴 On the flip side, too much iron can also suppress the immune system, so we need just the right amount.