The word “Iron” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “iarn”, which meant “metal”.
Iron can be found in Ferrous (Fe2+) and Ferric (Fe3+) form. Iron was thought to be discovered in 5000BC where it was used for tool and weapon making. There are 2 types of dietary Iron, Haem and Non-Haem. Haem foods include Meat (particularly red), some poultry and fish. Whereas, non haem sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes and cereals.
Iron’s bioavailability can change greatly dependent on foods that it is eaten with, Iron is absorbed best when eaten with Amino Acids and Vitamin C. Iron is absorbed poorly when eaten with Tannins (tea), Phytates, or Fibre.
Women’s requirement are always higher due to Iron losses in Menstruation. Adolescent women require 14.8mg of Iron per day, whereas adolescent men only require 8.7mg per day. Iron Deficiency is called Anaemia. Anaemia is characterised by extreme lethargy, breathlessness, insomnia, pale skin, membranes and gums and headaches. It has been predicted that 8% of women and 3% of men suffer from iron deficiency.
Here are some of the health benefits of Iron :
- Iron is an essential nutrient during pregnancy. Studies have shown that mothers deficiency in iron often have low birth weight children born pre-term.
- Iron plays a vital function role in red blood cells. Iron is the main component of Haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is used to carry oxygen to vital organs and muscles around the body.
- Iron is required for good cognitive function and mental processing. Consuming adequate Iron as a young child can provide the correct stepping stones for a well developed brain as an adult.
- Iron is heavily involved in the electron transport chain (ETC) which is used to make ATP the body’s form of energy. Iron is oxidised/reduced along the chin to provide substrate for energy production.
When was the last time you got your Iron test done?