Iron ensures the normal functioning of the brain, affects the state of the immune system. First of all, iron is necessary for the synthesis of hemoglobin, and therefore for transporting oxygen to organs and tissues. It is part of the muscle tissue, tissue respiration enzymes, participates in the synthesis of collagen – which means that it determines the health of the skin, hair, nails, bone tissue, tendons and muscle ligaments.
In total, the body contains about 4 grams of iron. Most – about 60%, is in hemoglobin, 30% – in the depot (liver, spleen, etc.), 3.5% in myoglobin, 0.5% in tissue enzymes, 0.1% in blood plasma.
The body’s need for iron
Iron enters the body with food. The need for iron depends on gender and age.
Daily iron requirements (mg/day):
Newborns – 0.5-1.5
Children – 0.4-1.0
Boys and girls in puberty – 1.0-2.0
Men; women during menopause – 0.5-1.0
Women of childbearing age – 0.7-2.0
Pregnant women – 2.0- 5.0
A woman consumes daily with food an average of 2000-2500 kcal, which contain 10-20 mg of iron, of which no more than 2 mg per day can be absorbed in the intestines – this is the absorption limit of this mineral. With an increased need for iron in the body – pregnancy, breastfeeding, intensive growth, periodic bleeding – the percentage of iron absorption in the intestine increases three times. At the same time, a woman loses about 1 mg of iron daily with urine, feces, sweat, exfoliating skin epithelium, and falling hair. It is important to maintain the balance existing in the body between the intake and excretion of iron.
Sources of iron
Iron is best absorbed from lean meats., about 23% of the incoming iron is absorbed, since it is gem iron. The liver contains five times more iron, but 5-10% is absorbed, because. it is contained in a hard-to-digest trivalent form.
Other sources of iron, especially plant-based foods, include oatmeal (4.2mg/100g), mushrooms (3.9mg/100g), peaches and pomegranates (3 to 4mg/100g), and some greens (dill , parsley). Little iron in apples, milk, grain products.
Please note thatthe high amounts of calcium and phosphorus found in milk and cheese can somewhat interfere with iron absorption. Therefore, iron preparations are recommended to be taken separately from calcium preparations.
Combine iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C.A glass of orange juice can double your iron intake.
Plant foods high in iron, but with a form that is difficult to digest, are recommended to be consumed at the same time as a small amount of meat or fish. This combination has been proven to have a positive effect on the absorption of iron from these foods.
Do not drink tea or coffee immediately after a meal.
Reduce the absorption of iron in the intestines:
Decreased acidity of gastric juice;
Low levels of iron in food (vegetarian diet);
Vitamin C deficiency;
Excess dietary zinc and copper;
Inflammatory processes in the intestines;
Flour and legume products (in them, most (60%) of the iron contained is associated with phytic acid and therefore is not absorbed by the body);
Drinking large amounts of tea and coffee.
The maximum amount of iron that can be absorbed from food is 2.5 mg / day, from drugs it can be absorbed 15-20 times more. Meat products are especially useful. Recommendations to eat more apples, pomegranates, carrots are unjustified. Only up to 4% of iron is absorbed from plant foods, while from animal products from 10 to 20%.
The human body lacks iron excretion mechanisms.Increased iron intake leads to an increase in the concentration of iron-depositing proteins – ferritin and hemosiderin. As soon as these proteins are completely saturated with iron, it is deposited in the cells of various organs and causes their death.
A nutritious and varied diet is the key to success!Moderate food intake virtually eliminates both the development of anemia and iron overload. And if you are still afraid for your health – determine the level of blood ferritin and / or total iron-binding capacity of serum 1-2 times a year, this will allow you not to miss possible violations of iron metabolism in the body.