Iron is a part of the blood and helps to deliver oxygen throughout the body. It is involved in the production of energy from the metabolism of food and helps to make the neurotransmitters used in the brain. Iron also plays a role in the immune system.
So, if we don’t have enough iron, anemia would develop and we would feel fatigued and listless. Our work capacity and exercise tolerance would go down.
Iron’s main functions are oxygen transport and cell restoration. Iron plays a central role in forming hemoglobin – a protein molecule in the red blood cells that delivers oxygen to body tissues and returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Iron supports brain function and development, muscle activity, body temperature regulations, and metabolism. Iron deficiency results in decreased production of T-cells (produced in the bone marrow, the white blood cells known as lymphocytes, are charged with fighting infection) and antibodies (a type of protein produced by the immune system to fight bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and chemicals).
Some people need to focus on ensuring their iron consumption than others. Women need more iron than men due to blood loss from menstruation. Vegetarians also need more iron because vegetable-based iron is harder to absorb than animal-based iron. If you experience shortness of breath or tiredness, you may need to up your intake of iron.
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