Iron deficiency anemia is the world's most common nutritional deficiency disease and is most prevalent among children and women of childbearing age.
Iron is a mineral that is naturally present in many foods, and available as a dietary supplement. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. As a component of myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles, iron supports metabolism. Iron is also necessary for growth, development, normal cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones and connective tissue].
Heme Iron or Ferrous Fumerate has a higher bio-availability then non-heme Iron.
Vitamin C improves bio-availability of Iron.
Calcium increases absorption of Iron.
Copper is essential for proper Iron absorption.
Anemia develops due to an inadequate amount of iron in the diet, impaired iron absorption, acute blood loss caused by hemorrhage or injury, or gradual blood loss such as from menstruation or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Inadequate intake of vitamin C can also contribute to iron deficiency as vitamin C is needed to absorb iron found in plant foods (non-heme iron).
Possible health benefits of consuming iron:
• Iron deficiency can cause impaired cognitive function, gastrointestinal disturbances, poor exercise and work performance, lowered immune function and poor body temperature regulation.
• Iron deficiency anemia is associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis(RA) and Lupus Erythematosus.7
• In children, iron deficiency anemia can cause psychomotor and cognitive abnormalities resulting in future learning difficulties.
• Low iron status during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight, as well as low iron stores and impaired cognitive or behavioral development in infants.
• Iron carries oxygen to the muscles and brain and is crucial for both mental and physical performance.
• Low iron levels may result in a lack of focus, increased irritability and reduced stamina.
• Iron deficiency is more common among athletes, especially young female athletes, than in sedentary individuals. Iron deficiency in athletes decreases athletic performance and weakens immune system activity. Iron deficiency can greatly reduce physical work performance as it decreases the body's ability to transport oxygen to the muscles.
Vitamin C help in the absorption of iron supplements. It is highly recommended to take Vitamin C with the iron.
Vitamin B12 & Folic acid
Vitamin B12 is needed to form healthy blood cells; red blood cells to supply the body with oxygen.
Vitamin B12 works closely with folic acid ( vitamin B9) and Iron
Copper also helps supply the heart with healthy, oxygenated blood. It works together with iron in the respiration and synthesis of hemoglobin. In fact, copper is believed to be necessary for proper storage, use, and release of the iron needed to produce hemoglobin in red blood cells. For this reason, copper is sometimes used to treat anemia.
Magnesium also protects the heart by discouraging the aggregation (clumping) of red blood cells.
Summary of Key points:
• Iron is an extremely important component of hemoglobin, which transports the oxygen within the red blood cells to the tissues throughout the body.
• Athletes require extra iron to keep the blood and oxygen pumping to their heart and other muscles as they contract.
• When a person has an iron deficiency, there is a limited amount of oxygen being delivered to the cells, causing a person to suffer from iron-deficiency anemia.
• Taking iron supplements will decrease the chances of anemia and improve quality of life.
• Sleep Better. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, iron deficiency plays a major role in insomnia, and iron supplements are said to help improve sleep.
• In some people, an iron deficiency can also cause restless leg syndrome, which will cause a person to not be able to lie still at night. A proper dose of iron can solve this problem.
• Low iron levels will cause a person to feel tired and lethargic for no reason. Since iron is an important component of hemoglobin, fatigue is a natural symptom of a deficiency.
• Iron aids in the synthesis of the "feel-good" neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
• Taking an iron supplement will keep you energized, healthy and in a better mood.
• Improve Concentration. An iron deficiency can cause difficulties with learning and focusing on one thing at a time, and can affect intellectual activity.
• Iron supplements can help build concentration in people to carry out their daily routines efficiently.
• There are also claims that supplements might improve symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), says Medline Plus.
• Strengthen Immune System. When a person is iron-deficient, the body is weakened, which stops it from fighting illness effectively, leading to headaches, flu and the common cold. Iron provides the body with the strength it needs to fight disease and infection.
• Iron also is important for muscle proteins and aids in manufacturing collagen, a protein found in connective tissue.
• Hemoglobin gives red blood cells their color, and stores most of the body's iron supply.
• Iron is also stored in muscle tissue, and helps supply the muscles with the oxygen needed to make them contract.