Minerals and why we need them
Iron RDA 10-15mg, less for the elderly.
Iron is necessary for many functions in the body including formation of haemoglobin, brain development and function, regulation of body temperature, muscle activity and catecholamine metabolism. Lack of iron directly affects the immune system; it diminishes the number of T- cells and the production of antibodies. Besides haemoglobin, iron is a component of myoglobin, the cytochromes, catalase and certain enzyme systems.
Iron is lost from your body in urine, faeces, dead skin cells and when blood is lost from the body.
In humans, iron is an essential component of hundreds of proteins and enzymes. Heme is an iron-containing compound found in a number of biologically important molecules. Haemoglobin and myoglobin are heme-containing proteins that are involved in the transport and storage of oxygen. Haemoglobin is the primary protein found in red blood cells and represents about two thirds of the body's iron.
The vital role of haemoglobin in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body is derived from its unique ability to acquire oxygen rapidly during the short time it spends in contact with the lungs and to release oxygen as needed during its circulation through the tissues. Myoglobin functions in the transport and short-term storage of oxygen in muscle cells, helping to match the supply of oxygen to the demand of working muscles.
Iron is also necessary for the production of some neurotransmitters.
Fatigue - rapid heart rate - palpitations - rapid breathing on exertion - sore tongue - breathlessness - feeling very tired - dizziness - feeling cold even when it's warm - rapid weak pulse - palpitations and headaches.
Severe iron deficiency may result in brittle and spoon shaped nails, sores at the corners of the mouth and taste bud atrophy.
Less common symptoms can include tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and an altered sense of taste.
Most of the symptoms of iron deficiency are a result of the associated anaemia.
Lactic acid production is also increased in iron deficiency.
The ability to maintain a normal body temperature on exposure to cold is also impaired in iron deficient individuals.
Brewer's yeast - liver - kidney - clams - cockles - oysters - prunes - eggs.