5+1 Important things about iron and anemia

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Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common conditions among adults. Although it is not a particularly serious health condition, iron deficiency significantly affects both energy levels and basic body functions. See 6 important things you need to know about iron and iron supplements.

1) Iron is a very important trace element.

Iron is one of the most important trace elements in the diet. It is essential for healthy growth, normal cell function, hormone synthesis and connective tissue. It is a key element of hemoglobin, a protein of red blood cells, which is responsible for oxygenation of the body and tissues.

2) Most of the iron in the body is found in the blood.

Approximately 3-4 grams of elemental iron in adults are present in hemoglobin. Of the remaining iron, most of it is stored in the form of ferritin or hemosiderin in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, or stored as myoglobin in the muscles. Iron losses through urine, stool, skin and gastrointestinal tract are very small, except when there is bleeding or menstruation in women.

3) Iron in food is available in two forms.

Dietary iron is available in two forms: hemic and non-hemic, with the former being more bioavailable. Vegetable foods such as fruits, beans, vegetables and foods enriched in iron contain the non-hemic form. On the other hand, animal food products such as red meat, poultry and seafood contain mainly hemic iron.

4) Depending on the food consumed, the iron absorption differs.

The bioavailability of iron from mixed diets containing meat and seafood is approximately 15%, while on vegetarians diets it is about 8%. The reason is that foods of plant origin contain phytic acid (grains and beans) and certain polyphenols (cereals and pulses) that reduce the bioavailability of iron, while animal food and seafood, on the other hand, facilitate absorption. Consistent with plant foods, calcium can also reduce iron absorption. Ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C, can double the absorption of iron, so it is recommended to be taken at the same time with iron-rich foods or supplements.

5) Iron deficiency can be assessed through biochemical examinations.

Iron deficiency is referred to as iron anemia, however, iron levels in the blood are insufficient to evaluate it. For this reason, it is necessary to measure the levels of ferritin, which reflects the iron stores in the body, even at an early stage of deficiency. Iron deficiency is characterized by low hemoglobin and hematocrit levels in the blood (the ratio of red blood cells to volume), so they are the most commonly used methods for detecting iron deficiency. Hemoglobin concentrations lower than 13 g / dL in men and 12 g / dL in females indicate iron deficiency, whereas lower normal hematocrit values are approximately 40% in men and 36% to women.

6) In dietary supplements, there are many forms of iron.

Frequently used iron forms in supplements include iron salts (iron gluconate, iron citrate and iron sulphate). High doses of iron (45 mg/day or more) can cause gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea and constipation. Other forms of supplemental iron, such as hematite iron polypeptides, iron carbonyl, iron chelate, and iron complexes with polysaccharides, may have fewer side effects. Iron salts (iron sulphate and iron gluconate) are preferred for oral iron supplementation due to their low cost and high bioavailability. Iron absorption is higher when iron supplements are given on an empty stomach.

In Vita4you you can find a great variety of iron supplements to treat iron deficiency anemia.

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