Iron is one of the most common metals on earth and is needed in trace amounts by the body for normal health. Most of the iron in the human body is found in our red blood cells, the haemoglobin, that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. As well as playing a vital role in oxygen transportation iron is also involved in proper cell differentiation and is an integral building block of many enzymes and proteins.
Iron deficiency is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the biggest nutritional disorder affecting up to a possible 80% of the worlds population.
Our bodies are very good at storing iron, and so a deficiency in the diet will first of all begin to eat into stored iron. This means that an iron deficiency will not be noticed until problems begin to occur.
Advanced iron depletion results in iron deficiency anaemia. This reduced level of iron in the haemoglobin causes oxygen deficiencies in cells throughout the body. This begins to have a disastrous affect on the immune system. Oxygen is essential for life, and if cells are not receiving the correct levels of oxygen they can begin to differentiate incorrrectly, a major cause of cancer.
Symptoms of anaemia include, fatigue, slowed mental function, low body temperature and increased vulnerability to infection.
Iron: Recommended Daily Allowance*:
|*All measurements expressed in mg.|