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Iron in the human body: the role, norm, deficiency and excess, food

Iron in the human body: the role, norm, deficiency and excess, food

For normal human life, you need a sufficient amount of iron in the body, which enters through food. Therefore, it is important to know why iron is needed in the body, what is its role, what causes a shortage or excess, what foods contain iron and stick to a balanced diet.

The role of iron in humans

Iron plays a special role in the process of human metabolism. Up to 70% of iron is contained in the blood and is in the composition of hemoglobin, which carries out gas exchange in the body.

Iron is responsible for hemoglobin levels in the blood. The main function of the trace element - the supply of oxygen to all organs, tissues, cells.

Iron is also found in the liver, brain, spleen. One of the most common causes of chronic fatigue is an insufficient amount of this element.

In the body, iron is needed for:

  1. Ensuring normal metabolic processes
  2. Maintaining immunity
  3. Participation in the life of every cell in the body
  4. Participation in redox reactions
  5. Ensuring body growth, the formation of nerve endings
  6. Ensuring normal brain function
  7. An essential element for healthy muscle development.

For pregnant women , iron intake is extremely important, because at this time there is a shortage of iron, which can cause serious consequences.

Signs of iron deficiency in the body

With an insufficient amount of iron in the body, the skin flakes off, dryness, pallor appears. The hair suffers - it falls out, fragility appears, the luster disappears. The condition of the teeth may change for the worse. Cracks form at the corners of the lips and on the heels.

Often a lack of iron leads to weight gain, as metabolic processes are disturbed.

There are frequent headaches, fainting, weakness and overwork. There is a breakdown as the hemoglobin level is lowered, the tissues do not receive the required amount of oxygen.

During the day, he tends to sleep, and at night a person suffers from insomnia. Reduced performance. With a lack of iron memory and intellectual abilities deteriorate.

Signs of iron deficiency:

  • problems with nail and hair, teeth, skin
  • weakness, frequent dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat
  • trouble sleeping
  • numbness of arms and legs
  • frequent colds
  • bowel disorder
  • decrease in appetite, change in taste (I want to eat chalk, raw potatoes)
  • change of smell (draws to the smell of paint, acetone)
  • low hemoglobin level (below 130 g / l for men, and below 120 g / l for women)

Muscle impairment due to iron deficiency leads to low blood pressure. There is a tendency to tachycardia, shortness of breath.

With iron deficiency functional liver failure may occur, which is manifested by a decrease in the amount of albumin, prothrombin and glucose in the blood.

Causes of iron loss

The main reasons for the large loss of iron:

  • starvation
  • tight diets
  • vegetarianism
  • strong periods
  • lack of foods containing iron during growth, during pregnancy and breastfeeding

As a result, iron deficiency anemia or anemia develops.

If anemia is suspected, you need to go to a health facility and pass an analysis to determine the level of hemoglobin . Treatment for anemia is prescribed by a doctor.

Young women and teenagers suffer from anemia more often. Pregnant women are most affected by this syndrome. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), currently 3.6 billion people in the world have a hidden iron deficiency in the body. Of these, 1.8 billion people suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

Daily need for iron

Iron is necessary not only for people suffering from an element deficiency, but also for absolutely healthy people. The main thing is not to exceed the daily rate.

A healthy person in the body about 3-4 mg of iron. But every day its level decreases naturally (sweating, peeling of the skin, menstruation in women). Therefore, you need to replenish iron stores continuously and daily.

Daily doses depend on the age and sex of the person.

Per day, an adult man needs up to 10 mg of iron, a woman should receive up to 20 mg of a trace element.

Children up to 7 years old need 7-10mg. Adolescents need 10-15 mg of iron.

Pregnant women should consume more, as part of the iron is transferred to the fetus. Norm - 30 mg.

In order to avoid intestinal disorders and other problems with the body, iron intake per day should not exceed 40 mg . An excess of iron adversely affects the liver. A dose of more than seven grams can lead to illness and death.

Iron is best absorbed from meat products, worse - from plant products.

Iron rich foods

Iron is of two types - heme and non-heme (chelated). In meat food there is a large amount of heme iron. The source of heme iron is animal protein. Non-heme iron is found in vegetable proteins, salt, sugar, greens.

The human body better absorbs iron from animal products (15-35%), plant-derived iron is absorbed worse (2-20%).

Vegetarians who do not eat meat should eat more foods with vitamin C. So iron will be absorbed better.

List of products containing large amounts of iron

Animal products

  1. Meat products
  • beef (9mg per 100g),
  • lamb (3 mg),
  • pork (1.6 mg),
  • turkey (1.4 mg),
  • chicken (1.6 mg),
  • any liver (10 - 20mg)
  1. Fish and seafood
  • oysters (6 - 9mg),
  • mussels (6.7 mg)
  • shrimp (1.5-2mg),
  • sardines (2.9 mg),
  • tuna fish (1.4 mg)
  • caviar (2.4mg)
  1. Eggs
  • chicken (2.9 mg),
  • quail (3.2 mg),

Plant Products

  1. Grains and Bread
  • buckwheat (6.7 mg),
  • oatmeal (3.9 mg),
  • rye (3.9 mg),
  • wheat bran (11,1mg)
  1. Greens and vegetables
  • spinach (2.7 mg),
  • cauliflower (1.5 mg),
  • broccoli (1.2 mg),
  • beets (1.7 mg)
  • corn (2.7 mg),
  • beans (3-3,7mg),
  • peas (1.5 mg),
  • lentils (11.8 mg)
  1. Berries and fruits
  • apples (0.1 mg)
  • pomegranate (1 mg),
  • persimmon (2.5 mg)
  • plum (2 - 2.5 mg)
  1. Dried fruits
  • prunes (3 mg),
  • dried apricots (3,2 mg)
  • raisins (4 mg)
  1. Seeds and nuts
  • pistachios (3.9 mg),
  • Almond (3.7 mg)
  • peanuts (4.6 mg),
  • walnut (2.9 mg),
  • any seeds (6-14mg)

To raise hemoglobin in the diet can include foods with a small amount of iron. These include honey, rice, sausage, melon, gooseberry, cucumbers, zucchini, oranges, grapes, lemons, pineapples, bananas, salad.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

After childbirth and breastfeeding a woman loses a lot of vitamins and trace elements. First of all, it is iron and calcium. Lack of iron can lead to a delay in the development of the baby.

Scientists estimate that by the end of lactation a woman loses 1200-1400 mg of iron. To replenish stocks of trace elements, it is necessary to use foods that contain iron.

Iron is needed for normal growth and development of children. In addition, the element helps the woman recover faster after childbirth.

When feeding the breast due to a lack of iron, the baby may not gain weight and muscle mass, the umbilical wound does not heal well, the level of intelligence decreases. For nursing mothers, it is especially important to receive the daily iron intake (30 mg). Sometimes a doctor may prescribe an additional course of iron supplements.

Prevention of iron deficiency

To avoid iron deficiency anemia, foods high in iron should be consumed year-round. It is recommended to drink also a vitamin complex, which contains iron (after consulting a doctor).

Food should be balanced, you need to combine animal products with plant. Best of all, iron enters the body from liver, red meat, white fish, buckwheat, and wheat grains.

Products containing iron in large quantities are not recommended to be combined with tea, coffee, chocolate, sour cream, milk, cream, cottage cheese. They can only inhibit the absorption of iron.

What causes a surplus of iron

An excess of iron leads to poisoning of the body. Suffer brain, liver. Inflammatory processes develop. It is important not to exceed the daily intake of iron.

Drugs containing iron should be taken only as prescribed by a doctor, since there are contraindications to their use:

  • Inflammation of the kidneys and liver
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Enteritis of various etiologies

Causes and signs of excess iron

What foods contain iron

An excess of iron, as well as its lack, can have a negative effect on the body.

Possible effects from too much iron:

  1. General intoxication of the body
  2. Violation of the tissues of internal organs and their functions
  3. The formation and development of malignant tumors
  4. The development of rheumatoid arthritis
  5. Aggravation of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases

Possible causes of excess iron

  • Uncontrolled and prolonged use of iron supplements
  • Hereditary disorders of the body

Symptoms and signs of excess iron in the body

  • Yellowness of the skin, palate, tongue
  • Enlarged liver
  • Heart rhythm disturbance
  • Excessive skin pigmentation
  • Quick weight loss

If you find these symptoms, you should consult a doctor and pass the analysis. It is important to normalize iron levels in time to avoid further health problems.

Discussion: 2 comments
  1. Olga :

    I agree ... I, too, from a lack of iron, cracks appeared on the heels ... I didn’t have enough iron to replenish with vitamins, but from the cracks hilfix means on the heels.

    1. Katerina :

      A good remedy is hilfix, it helps in just a couple of days and the heels do not hurt so much ... More precisely, where the cracks appear.


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