Iron is a mineral that is an essential requirement of the body. It is a metal component belonging to the first members of the periodic table(atomic number 26). Its chemical symbol is Fe.
Iron Food Sources
Some of the high foods include shellfish, spinach, liver, and other organ meats, legumes, red meat, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli, tofu, and turkey. If one does not take meat or fish, you can boost absorption by including a source of vitamin C when eating plant sources of iron.
Iron Daily Requirements
The Recommended Daily Allowance(RDA) will depend on a person’s age and sex. Also, vegetarians have different iron requirements.
0 to 6 months- 0.27 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
19years 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- 10mg
lactating at older than 19 years- 9 mg
Iron Health Benefits
This can result either from high volumes or low volumes of Fe intakes. Most likely it is low volume intakes.
Low volume of iron intakes
If the body has fewer intakes of the mineral, it will result in the mineral deficiency. This is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. When the body has low volumes of iron intake, a state of latent iron deficiency occurs.
Latent iron deficiency is where the deficiency occurs without anemia. This state will later develop to Fe deficiency anemia in weeks or months.
Mostly it will affect children, women at the childbearing age and poor dieting people. The cases of the deficiency are mild but if not treated they can cause problems like fast irregular heartbeat, complications during pregnancy, delayed growth in infants and children.
Signs and Symptoms of low iron intakes
- Insufficient red blood cells count
- Low occurrence of hemoglobin
- Fast irregular heartbeat rates
High Volume of iron intakes
The human body will regulate iron overloads which are not excreted as waste. Only small amounts of iron are lost daily due to mucosal and skin epithelial cells.
However, some people with a genetic defect of HLA-H iron uptake are impaired. Thus, it will lead to iron overload. As a result of the excessive iron intake, it will result in iron overload disorders also known as hemochromatosis.
Additionally, excessive Fe intakes will result in free Fe radicals. The iron radicals will react with enzymes(peroxides) and produce free highly reactive free radicals. The free radicals can damage DNA, proteins, lipids and other cellular components.
Also, iron overloads will increase iron toxicity. Naturally, iron uptake will result from damage to the cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Damage to the cells will prevent the regulation of iron absorption which will increase free iron radicals.
Iron toxicity will destroy cells in the heart and liver. Some adverse effects include coma, metabolic acidosis, shock, liver failure, adult respiratory distress syndrome, and even death.
Generally, patients taking chemotherapy will develop iron deficiency and anemia. Iron therapy injections are advisable to restore iron levels.
Additionally, high overload from high consumption of red meat might lead to tumor growth. This will increase risks to cancer mainly, colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer will affect the colon or rectum. Also, it is referred to as bowel or colon cancer.
Signs and symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
- Blood in the stool
- worsening constipation,
- a decrease in stool caliber (thickness),
- loss of appetite,
- loss of weight
- nausea or vomiting in someone over 50 years old.
Iron Side Effects
Mostly, the mineral will be regulated by the body thus side effects will not occur at high rates. However, its supplements will probably induce side effects. An upset stomach is more likely to occur.
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