Iron, or ferrous, is a trace mineral which is a key element needed by both plants and animals. As the oxygen-carrier in the blood, it supplies the energy to every cell in the body. Iron is found in hemoglobin, the pigment that gives blood its bright red color. Myoglobin is also another site for iron deposits. This blood cell is responsible for supplying oxygen to muscles in order to keep them healthy and maintain their energy levels. Iron may also be found in compounds that keep the immune system strong. So with all these functions of iron, it is obvious that it is an essential element of life and good health.

Nutrient Deficiency

Iron is critical to sharp mental function. Even the slightest deficiency in iron can shorten attention span and make concentration difficult.

During normal circumstances, the body’s chief source of iron is the food that we eat. Sufficient amount of this element in the body allows the organs to self-regulate, storing amounts you will need by automatically absorbing more iron when the need is high and less when there is an adequate supply.

But despite the body’s seamless methods in maintaining iron levels, improper diets result in iron deficiency which is considered as a significant public health problem. Iron deficiency occurs during periods of rapid growth. These periods are the following: infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. The reason why iron depletion is common during growth periods is that the body usually increases its demands for this mineral during these times. In addition, women who undergo the menstrual cycle have a tendency to have lower iron levels and thus more susceptible to iron deficiency

A common result of low iron levels is iron deficiency anemia. This happens in people who have chronically iron-poor diets or suffer any condition that is characterized by prolonged breeding. These may include ulcers, hemorrhoids, and rectal polyps. People who constantly take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs may have problems in maintaining proper iron levels since the said drugs can cause stomach irritation, eventually leading to ulcers.

Furthermore, the risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia is common as a consequence of months or years of regularly taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAID drugs.

According to statistical studies, 11 percent of women under the age of 50 are iron-deficient. Adolescents were likewise susceptible to this type of anemia. Government statistics showed that 9% of adolescents have low levels of iron in their body. Dieters, vegetarians, and endurance athletes also develop iron deficiency due to the unique demands on their bodies.

Health Benefits

Iron deficiency is counteracted by supplying adequate amounts of iron in the body. Specifically, iron supplements can help to correct iron-deficiency anemia. When stores of this element are low, your body has to struggle to absorb sufficient amounts of oxygen. This in turn leads to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. By taking supplements, you can correct these and provide your body with enough amounts to keep it healthy.

You can boost the amount of this mineral absorbed in your body by taking your supplements with small amounts of meat, foods, or drinks rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli or orange juice. It is also good to take your iron with your daily multivitamin. Vitamin A and the trace mineral molybdemum aid in better absorption of this mineral.