Iron Mineral 101
by Charlene J. Nuble
Iron is a mineral that is essential to the health and functioning of the body. Deficiencies in
iron can have serious consequences for overall health and even energy levels. While iron is
important for both sexes, it is of particular importance to women due to biological and
reproductive factors. However, world wide, many people do not meet the minimum suggested daily
intake of iron resulting in a variety of health problems that range from the mild, which simply
increasing the daily iron intake could remedy, to the severe, which often require more complex
treatments but could easily have been avoided by sufficient daily iron consumption.
Iron serves several purposes within the body. One of the most important functions of iron in the
system is its role is oxygenating the blood. Another essential role of iron is energy metabolism.
It is a factor of the neurodevelopment of babies as they grow and develop in the uterus. Iron
also serves to promote the important functioning of the body’s immune system particularly in the
production of the white blood cells essential in fighting infection and disease. Iron is also
essential in properly utilizing the B vitamins.
Women, because of their role in reproduction, need to be especially sure that their iron levels
are sufficient especially during pregnancy as the healthy growth and development of their babies
depends on it. Because of blood loss during menstruation, most women need to take a little extra
precaution during that time period to make sure their iron levels stay at recommended levels.
Iron deficiencies can cause a variety of health problems. Anemia is by far the most common and it
results in weakness, fatigue and, to the detriment especially of school children, an inability to
concentrate properly. Oxygen is one of the most important life giving forces of the body and due
to the essential role of iron in seeing to it that oxygen reaches all parts of the body, via the
blood, general feelings of health and well-being rely on proper iron levels.
Dietary supplements that include iron, as well as iron enriched foods, play an important role
world wide in achieving the recommended daily iron requirements of the human body. However, like
any other dietary supplement or medicine, iron supplements must be used properly to be effective
and to avoid inducing other serious health problems. Always remember also to couple your iron
supplement drinking with ascorbic acid or vitamin C. This is to help the body absorb the iron
An overdose of iron in small children can be fatal. Always keep iron supplements and vitamins
that contain iron well out of the reach of children. A reminder for parents who wisely make use
of a daily multivitamin and iron supplement for their children: if you are using those brightly
colored, cartoon character types, always be sure to remind your children that those are powerful
medicines and not merely candy. That way if the bottle is accidentally left down and the child
does find it, they are less likely to overdose themselves with it and more likely to call it to
your attention that you left it in their reach.
Iron is an essential nutrient for some of the body’s very important functions and processes. For
many years, dietary supplements have been a safe and trusted means of making sure to meet the
recommended daily iron intake levels. When used properly, iron supplements are a good choice for
helping to keep the body strong and healthy.
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Charlene J. Nuble 2005. For up to date links and
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