Iron is our most abundant essential trace mineral. It is an important micronutrient in energy production, protein metabolism and immune system health. Iron anaemia, when haemoglobin-containing red blood cell production declines, might cause pallor, weakness, poor immunity and fatigue.
Supplementations with iron pills or tonic is a common way used to supply the body with the additional amount of the mineral. Iron deficiency is more common in pregnant or heavily menstruating women, female athletes, teenagers experiencing a growth spurt and the elderly. Studies show that around 40% of New Zealand women of childbearing age are iron deficient. Iron-deficient mothers are more likely to produce infants who are susceptible to iron deficiency.
Iron is necessary to most life forms on the planet. We need it as the central component of our oxygen-transporting haemoglobin molecules. It is an important micronutrient in energy production, protein metabolism and immune system.
Fatigue, irritability, recurring infections, shortness of breath, headaches, chest pain and heavy menstrual bleeding can all indicate dietary iron deficiency. Cognitive impairment, developmental delay and hair loss can result if iron deficiency is not addressed.
Iron Side Effects and Contraindications
Poorly absorbed iron supplements can cause headaches, constipation and digestive discomfort due to residual iron the body is trying to excrete.
High doses can cause organ toxicity and free radical damage to tissues.
Take at least 2 hours away from medications.
Contraindicated in cases of hemochromatosis.
Keep your supplements well out of reach of curious children. Iron supplements are a leading cause of accidental poisonings in young children (USA), who find containers and swallow the contents.