Iron: properties of the mineral and benefits for the body

Iron: properties of the mineral and what it is used for in the human body

Image source: allinonemovie

The ferro it’s a mining from the important ones property which must be taken daily with the diet for the proper functioning of our cells and to compensate for the natural daily losses. These occur mainly with faeces, urine, peeling and skin regeneration, as well as with the secretion of bile.

The requirement recommended of this metal is on average 10-20 mg per day, although in some conditions the needs may be increased. But where is iron produced in the body? Where is it found in the blood? What does iron deficiency entail e what is it for in our body? We answer these and other common questions.

Properties of iron

Iron is an essential element for the production of blood. About 70 percent of it it is found in red blood cells (hemoglobin) and in muscle cells (myoglobin). It is one of the most important elements of the periodic table and one of the most used chemical elements in the world: it represents almost 95% of the total production of metals. Between characteristics of iron more evident are the economy and high resistance.

Widely used in engineering, shipbuilding and structural buildings, its use ranges from food containers to family cars, from agriculture to small and large household appliances. It is one of the most ancient metals and has practically always existed.

the chemical properties of iron they are responsible for some of its purposes, but make it unsuitable for others. It is a very active metal: reacting with oxygen and humidity, it creates rust in the air (one of its main disadvantages). Furthermore, it is the only natural substance to have magnetic properties.


It is a ductile, lustrous, relatively soft and malleable metal with a silver gray color and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. It exists in four distinct crystalline forms. Iron rusts in humid air, but not in dry air, while it dissolves easily in diluted acids. The mineral forms two main series of chemical compounds, divalent iron (II), or ferrous, and trivalent iron (III), or ferric.

Fonte: Alex Socha

What is iron used for in the human body

What is iron used for in the body it is easy to say: in general it can be said that the mining is one of the most important elements for our health, in particular for a long series of organic functions. The best known of all is the oxygen transport towards organs and tissues. Furthermore, at the cellular level, it is essential for the mechanism of respiration and the synthesis of nucleic acids.

The trace element, then, is also fundamental for the regular functioning of the central nervous system, as it is necessary for the synthesis of some neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. It is finally involved in the activities of the cells of the immune system. It is interesting to know how much iron does the human body contain: the quantity present in an adult male is approximately 3.8 mg; in women, on the other hand, it is equal to 2.3 mg.

In the body, iron is always bound to specific proteins and that which is bound to hemoglobin represents as much as 75% of the total quantity. The remainder of the amount is available in the form of a deposit to be mobilized in case of need. To perform the function of reserve are once again some proteins, ferritin and hemosiderin, present in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. A certain amount of the mineral is also found linked to transferrin, the protein that is mainly responsible for transporting iron in the blood.

The need for iron

As already highlighted, on average a healthy adult individual needs a daily iron intake of 18-20 mg. In pregnancy and in the case of some specific diseases – such as Crohn’s disease, bleeding, metabolic disorders or taking drugs such as oxalates and phosphates – the requirement can reach 30 mg per day. The indication for a possible higher intake of the metal is given by the doctor.

Children up to 11 years need a daily intake of 8-10 mg. In the absence of specific conditions, abalanced nutrition and it varies is enough to ensure the right amount of iron. How is iron measured? Through blood tests.

Source: Felix Wolf

Iron deficiency

It occurs when the body does not have enough mineral available. Although this is a fairly common condition, many people are unaware that they have iron deficiency. Some subjects present i symptoms for months or even years without recognizing them. This is because the ways in which it manifests itself can also be traced back to other pathologies. What are the symptoms of iron deficiency? The feeling of fatigue is one of the most common, but it is not the only one. The most common ones can include:

  • tiredness and weakness
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • tingling sensation in the legs
  • cold hands and feet
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • brittle nails

Signs and symptoms of this deficiency are not all the same: they can vary according to the severity of the anemia, the age of the subject and his general health conditions. Who are you wondering what is the name of iron in blood tests, it is verifiable under the heading sideremia. Finally, some too tumors cause anemia: it is colorectal and kidney cancer.

The causes of iron deficiency

The cause most common of iron deficiency is blood loss. In menstruating women, for example, this often represents an increase in the need for the mineral. For blood donors, each donation results in the loss of 200 to 250 mg of iron. During the growth of children and adolescents, the need can exceed the supply of the mineral from the diet and supplies in the body.

During pregnancy, iron loss due to tissue growth and bleeding during delivery and after delivery averages 740 mg. Finally, even during breastfeeding a deficiency can occur: during this period the requirement increases by about 0.5-1 mg per day.

Foods rich in iron

Foods rich in iron are numerous. However, what is available in foods is of two types: eme, in those of animal origin, e no eme in vegetables. This form is difficult to absorb by our body: the enterocytes, the cells present in the intestinal villi, absorb the iron which is found in the form of divalent ion, a state in which iron is found in the heme group.

All plant-based foods rich in this metal, such as soy, quinoa, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds and beans, should be eaten in a meal that also contains an active molecule such as reducing agent. Between these, C vitamin and citric acid, folic acid.

In addition to consuming the foods rich in the mineral, if you are wondering how to assimilate iron, among the easy home-made tricks it is sufficient to also eat fruit such as blueberries, strawberries and citrus fruits or choose a portion of fresh vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes.

Some molecules present in food or in some drinks, such as tea and coffee, on the other hand, counteract its absorption. The same consideration also applies to some medications such as antacids, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and calcium. Keeping that information in mind can help us if our goal is to quickly recover the iron.

Source: Aline Ponce

High iron

The high iron – also known as hemochromatosis – is the opposite condition to anemia. In such a situation the body absorbs too much mineral from the food it ingests. This is stored in the organs (liver, heart and pancreas) and can cause health problems. Mainly liver disease, heart problems and diabetes.

Hemochromatosis is often due to genes that are inherited. Not all who inherit them, however, run into worrying problems. Having high iron involves the need to monitor it: in certain cases, on medical advice, it is treated by regularly removing blood from the body, through a procedure called phlebotomy, which takes place as if you were donating blood.

High iron, what to eat

Equally important is taking care of your own supply to the best. What to eat in case of high iron? In addition to following a varied and balanced diet based on seasonal fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates (preferably whole grains), a right amount of protein (but little red meat), citrus fruits, sugars and dairy products, you must certainly avoid taking iron supplements and multivitamins that contain it.

But also those of vitamin C which, as is known, improves the absorption of the mineral. It is also important to avoid drinking alcohol, which increases the risk of liver damage in people with hereditary hemochromatosis, and to eat raw fish and shellfish, the latter as the bacteria contained in them are dangerous for those suffering from hereditary hemochromatosis.

High iron in pregnancy

Although less common than anemia, high iron in pregnancy must be monitored to safeguard the well-being of the mother and fetus. In some cases it may be necessary to seek the opinion of a haematologist to verify the causes of abnormal values. Possible consequences include some nervous system disorders, anxiety, depression and irregular heartbeat.

Among the causes, however, there may be the intake of folic acid, an indispensable supplement in pregnant women that can lead to an increase in iron in the blood.

Source: GreenStyle by

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