Mineral Facts: Iron
If you are feeling lethargic or lacking in energy, do not simply assume that you are not getting enough sleep at night. A chronic lack of energy may be symptom of an iron deficiency and should be checked out by a doctor. Iron is a mineral that is essential to human life and it is very important for the body’s proper functioning to receive adequate amounts of iron.
Iron is present in every living cell because it is responsible for forming hemoglobin which carries oxygen from lungs all over the body to the cells. When you do not have adequate amounts of oxygen, the body cannot produce enough normal red blood cells to keep the body in good health. When this occurs, it is called an iron deficiency or more commonly, Anemia.
Iron is responsible for providing energy to our bodies and keeping them in peak performance. Iron is also responsible for growth, promotes the metabolism of protein in the body and improves respiratory action as well as mental acuity and the skin tone. It is important to receive enough iron in order to maintain a strong immune system and keep the body resistant to disease.
It is not uncommon to suffer from an iron deficiency, especially in people who do not consume meat, such as vegetarians. A lack of iron is likely to lead to fatigue, or unusual tiredness, a shortness of breath and a decrease in physical performance. It may also be noticed that patients with a lack of iron experience learning difficulties, particularly in children.
If you are deficient in iron, the first symptom that will likely notice is a difference in your energy levels. Tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of a lack of energy. Iron deficiency is not generally caused by a dietary problems alone. Typically there is an underlying cause such as child birth, major surgery, or heavy menstrual periods that trigger an iron deficiency. Some people may have a higher need for iron, such as those who have bleeding problems, stomach problems, or people who are very athletic such as marathon runners, and pregnant women.
Source of Iron
Iron can be found naturally in meats, fish, eggs, oysters, poultry, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains and iron enriched products.
If you consume too much iron it may be damaging to your body such as constipation, increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
For iron, the highest safe level is 45mg, from supplements and food combined. If you are a meat eater, a 25mg mutlivitamin supplement will ensure adequate level for your body. It is not generally advisable to take an iron supplement unless prescribed your doctor.
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