Why is Iron So Important?
The role and importance of this mineral cannot be overestimated, primarily because the deficiency is so unpleasant and dangerous. Let’s take a closer look at it below.
Yes. Iron is a metal, and it works as an essential protein component for metabolism. The human body needs it to produce red blood cells. The health benefits of iron relate to the proper growth of the human body and maintenance of robust health. The human body is capable of preserving up to 25% of iron for future use, especially in the cases of inadequate diet intake, which is a backup plan for reducing the impact of anaemia, if its intake suddenly declines (more on anaemia below).
Haemoglobin and Myoglobin
In our bodies, about 70% of iron is found in haemoglobin and myoglobin. Haemoglobin is the primary transporter of oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues, while myoglobin is in muscle cells. It allows for acceptance, storage, transportation, and release of oxygen to be possible in those cells. About 5% of it is found as components of various proteins and as necessary elements in certain enzymatic reactions.
Stored in Our Bodies
Finally, up to 25% of the body’s iron is stored in ferritin, which is in the cells and circulating in the bloodstream. Ferritin can store up to three years worth of iron supplementation for men, but only about one year’s worth for women, which is why anaemia is more common in females (more on anaemia and women below).
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency may often cause severe fatigue, body weakness, and other related health ailments. People lacking it cannot perform normal functions in an optimal way. Furthermore, women and children need more iron than men, and anaemia strikes them particularly hard (more on anaemia in women below).
Severe deficiency may cause progressive skin ailments that cause brittleness of nails and extra smoothness in the tongue area. The enzymatic processes that require iron and the proteins that need it as a building block or co-factor will not be able to occur, and our body metabolism can slow or even shut down.
Low iron anaemia is considered the most common global nutritional deficiency in both developed and developing countries (more general info on anaemia below).
Recommended Dietary Iron Intakes (per day)
|Infants 0–6 months|
0.2 mg for breastfed infants (the iron in formula is less well absorbed, so the intake in formula-fed infants is significantly higher.)
|Infants aged 7–12 months|
|Girls and boys aged 1–3 years|
|Girls and boys aged 4–8 years|
|Girls and boys aged 9–13 years|
|Boys aged 14–18 years|
|Girls aged 14–18 years|
|Women aged 19–50 years|
9 mg (10 mg for 14-18 year old adolescents who are breastfeeding)
|Women aged 51 years and over|
|Men aged 19 years and over|
How Can I Increase My Iron Levels?
What we Eat and Drink
Iron is found in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, and are classified as heme or non-heme iron, respectively. Legumes, lentils, soy beans, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, cereals, bread, spinach, turnip, sprouts, broccoli and dry fruits also have good iron content. Food items containing good levels of vitamin C may also aid in the absorption of iron by the body. For example, eating a burger with tomato slices on it could boost the absorption of non-heme iron contents from the burger bread. Citrus fruits and juices like orange juice may also help in its absorption.
Orally Taken Iron Supplements (i.e. tablets/pills/capsules/tonics)
You can also get iron tablets and supplements. Anaemic patients are often advised by doctors to take supplementary tablets or tonics. One common side effect of taking iron pills or other orally taken iron supplements is constipation, and this constipation can get quite severe, painful, or generally uncomfortable.
Intravenous (IV) Iron Infusions
Since the PBS listing of ferrous carboxymaltose (Ferinject®) in August 2014, the world of iron therapy in general practice in Australia has opened up enormously. GPs are now able to investigate and treat iron deficiency on-site at their clinic.
Ferinject® is a small-molecule form of intravenous iron and is a safe option to administer in a general practice healthcare setting. Compared with the older versions of IV iron, it is also much quicker to administer. The twin advantages of safety and convenience have paved the way for IV iron administration in general practice to become the new normal.
Venofer® (or iron sucrose) is also another excellent treatment option for IV iron infusion in a primary healthcare setting in Australia. Venofer presents much of the same advantages of as Ferinject delivered intravenously into the bloodstream.
Both Ferinject and Venofer do not cause the constipation often experienced with taking oral iron supplements such as iron tablets/pills/capsules.
IV Infusion Clinic offers both of these as treatments.
More can be read about our Iron Infusion by tapping here.
Health Benefits of Iron
Jump to: Treats Insomnia | Boosts Energy Metabolism | Improves Concentration | Improves Muscle Function | Increases Brain Function | Regulates Body Temperature | Treats Anaemia | A Special Anaemia Concern for Women | Eliminates Low Iron Related Fatigue | Boosts Haemoglobin Formation | Boosts Immunity | Treats Restless Leg Syndrome | Oxygen Carrier | Cures Chronic Diseases | Neurotransmitter Synthesis | Supports Organ Systems
Iron can be useful in treating insomnia in the human body and also improves the sleeping habits and quality of sleep by regulating our circadian rhythm. Proper red blood cell count can also result in less blood pressure fluctuation, which can often keep people awake at night.
Boosts Energy Metabolism
Iron is an important participant of energy metabolism in the human body. This process is how energy is extracted from consumed food and subsequently distributed to different body parts. Having healthy iron levels in our blood can help us better extract the energy in the foods we consume.
When consumed in sufficient amounts, iron can help improve concentration, which boosts cognitive and mental performance. Increased flow of blood to the brain due to iron’s red blood cell activity is what results in this important benefit.
Improves Muscle Function
Iron is a vital element for muscle health. It is present in the muscle tissues and helps provide the supply of oxygen required for muscle contraction. Without it, muscles lose their tone and elasticity. Muscle weakness is one of the most obvious signs of anaemia.
Increases Brain Function
Increased development of the brain is also one of the many benefits of iron. Since oxygen supply in the blood is aided by it and the brain uses approximately 20% of the blood oxygen, iron is directly related to brain health and its functions. Proper flow of blood in the brain can stimulate cognitive activity and help to create new neural pathways to prevent cognitive disorders such as potential dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, so proper iron intake and its subsequent brain oxygenation is essential.
Regulates Body Temperature
Iron is an important facilitator for regulating body temperature. An interesting fact is that it has the ability to regulate as per the absorption capacity of the body. Keeping the body temperature stable means that our enzymatic and metabolic functions can work their best since our body presents them their most optimal and efficient environment and temperatures.
Iron is helpful in the treatment of a severe disorder called iron deficiency anaemia, which results from a lack of iron in the human body (often also in connection with vitamin B levels). This is where most of these health benefits come from, as a result of preventing this terrible disease that affects millions of people around the world. It is the most common nutritional deficiency on the planet.
A Special Anaemia Concern for Women
Iron may also exhibit its health benefits in curing anaemia that occurs in women during pregnancy or menstruation. New red blood cells must replace those that have been lost, so consuming significant amounts of iron is necessary for women at these points in women’s lives.
Eliminates Low Iron Related Fatigue
Health benefits of iron can also include the elimination of unexplained or chronic fatigue, which may occur in both men and women. Its deficiency is a natural cause of fatigue since it is an important component of haemoglobin.
Boosts Haemoglobin Formation
Formation of haemoglobin is the main function of this mineral. Since iron is a part of haemoglobin, it also gives the dark shade of red to our blood, and also aids in transporting oxygen to the body cells. Additional haemoglobin is vitally important because human beings tend to lose blood in various ways, through injuries, both internal and external. Most notably, women lose considerable amounts of blood every month during their menstruation years, which is one of the major reasons why women are more likely to suffer from anaemia than men.
Iron plays a key role in providing strength to the immune system of the body. Thus, the body is made proficient enough to fight against a number of diseases and infections. Red blood cells are necessary for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells. Without it, there would be no haemoglobin; without haemoglobin, there would be no oxygen. Thus, iron in our bodies allow the healing process needs iron to happen.
Treats Restless Leg Syndrome
Iron deficiency can be one of the causes of the restless leg syndrome. Most research on this syndrome has concentrated on iron. Low iron levels in the blood are a major cause of the condition, so proper intake of iron supplements (most quickly and effectively through IV Iron Infusion Drip Therapy) in required levels as per the doctor’s recommendations can cure this problem. This is connected to muscle spasms, which can be one of the symptoms of iron deficiency.
One of the most important health benefits of iron is that it works as a carrier of oxygen in our bodies, and thus participates in transferring oxygen from one body cell to other. This is a vital function of iron, as oxygen is required by each and every organ system in our bodies to perform routine functions.
Cures Chronic Diseases
Iron also helps in the treatment of chronic disorders like renal failure anaemia, and other chronic diseases of the intestinal and excretory system. These are not related to blood necessarily, like most other iron functions, but remember, iron is still a key part of many necessary processes throughout our body’s systems, beyond just the circulatory system.
Iron actively takes part in the synthesis of a number of essential neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine (also known as noredrenaline), and serotonin. These chemicals play a major role in different activities involving neurons and the human brain.
Treats Pre-dialysis Anaemia
It is suggested by health experts that iron is capable of treating another form of anaemia called predialysis anaemia. However, it is a good idea to consult a medical expert to get treatment for this problem, as it can be very complicated and dangerous.
Supports Organ Systems
Iron happens to be the most important part of various enzymatic systems and is involved in other important constituents like myoglobin, cytochromes, and catalase. Without these functioning properly, a number of organ systems would slow down.