Iron is a nutritionally important mineral and a chemical element.

nutritional information:

    IMPORTANCE: Its major function is to combine with protein and copper in making hemoglobin.  Hemoglobin transports oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the tissues which need oxygen to maintain basic life functions. Iron builds up the quality of the blood and increases resistance to stress and disease. It is also necessary for the formation of myoglobin which is found only in muscle tissue. Myoglobin supplies oxygen to muscle cells for use in the chemical reaction that results in muscle contraction. Iron also prevent fatigue and promotes good skin tone.

    DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS: May result in weakness, paleness of skin, constipation, anemia.

—courtesy of Austin Nutritional research

    “Fortifying foods with iron does not significantly affect zinc absorption”, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “However, large amounts of iron in supplements (greater than 25 mg) may decrease zinc absorption, as can iron in solutions. Taking iron supplements between meals will help decrease its effect on zinc absorption.”

    “Zinc toxicity has been seen in both acute and chronic forms”, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “Intakes of 150 to 450 mg of zinc per day have been associated with low copper status, altered iron function, reduced immune function, and reduced levels of high-density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol). One case report cited severe nausea and vomiting within 30 minutes after the erson ingested four grams of zinc gluconate (570 mg elemental zinc).”

    Seniors should have less than 9 mg of iron a day, especially if postmenopausal or have heart disease.

    Sources of iron include: beans, black pudding, broccoli, brown rice, cocoa, figs, haggis, lentils, lettuce, molasses, nuts, parsley, peanuts, peas, seaweed, shellfish, soy beans, sunflower seeds, wheatgerm, wholegrains, wholegrain rice, and wild rice.

    Additional sources of iron (that should be avoided because they are animal products) include: meat, and offal.

    Contrary to popular belief, spinach is actually not a good source of iron. See the article on spinach for details.

iron-rich foods

scientific information:

    Iron is the tenth most abundant element in the universe and makes up about 5% of the Earth’s crust.

    Name: iron

    Symbol: Fe

    Atomic Number: 26

    Periodic Table: Group (or family) 8 (old European IUPAC system group VIII; old American CAS system group VIII); Period 4; d-block

    Atomic mass: 55.854(2) g/mol

See also: minerals

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