Iron health

The therapeutic use of iron dates back thousands of years. The Egyptians prescribed it as a cure for baldness and the Greeks recommended iron in wine as a way to restore male potency. Iron is the most abundant element on earth and is an essential trace mineral for humans. The human body contains about 3.5 to 4.5 g of iron Two thirds of this is present in blood and the rest is stored in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and muscles.

Iron healthBenefits

Oxygen transport and storage

Red blood cells contain aprotein called hemoglobin and each hemoglobin molecule contains four iron atoms. The iron in hemoglobin binds oxygen when it passes through blood vessels in the lungs and releases it in the tissues. After releasing the oxygen, hemoglobin binds carbon dioxide, the waste product of respiration, and carries it back to the lungs to be released. Red blood cells and the iron they contain, are recycled and replaced every 120 days. Another iron-containing molecule, myoglobin, carries and stores oxygen in the cells and is therefore essential for cellular activities in all body tissues.

Metabolism

Enzymes involved in many metabolic functions require iron. It is necessary for cell division and growth through its role in DNA synthesis. It is also essential for protein metabolism.

Energy production

Iron plays a role in oxygen transfer in cytochromes, protein molecules involved in the production of energy in cells.

Other functions

Thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolic processes, require iron for production. Iron is involved in the production of connective tissue and several brain neurotransmitters, and in the maintenance of a healthy immune system.

 
 
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