Some interesting facts about iron:
- Iron is a trace mineral
Iron is a trace mineral, which means only very small amounts of this mineral are required to enable the proper functioning of the body and to enable good health. Iron is the most abundant trace mineral in the body.
- Iron exists predominantly in the haemoglobin of red blood cells
Iron in the body is used mainly to make the haemoglobin in the red blood cells. Haemoglobin is the red pigment which carries oxygen in the arteries to all the cells, organs and tissues of the body. In the lungs, oxygen molecules attach to the iron atoms and are carried to the blood cells. When the oxygen reaches its destination, it is swapped for the waste carbon monoxide and carried back to the lungs where it is removed by exhalation.
- Iron is also found in some enzymes
Iron is also found in some enzymes which are required for the chemical processes in all parts of the body. Many enzymes that contain iron are needed for energy production.
Iron supplements (tablets or fluid) cause the stools to become quite darkened (almost black) and this is quite normal, as it is due to the natural red-black colour of the iron
- There are two forms of iron - haeme and non-haeme
Iron comes in two forms: haeme iron and non-haeme iron. Haeme iron is found in foods of animal origin and is a lot easier for the body to absorb. Non-haeme iron is found in foods of plant origin and requires food rich in vitamin C to help the body absorb it properly.
- Iron metabolism requires adequate copper intake
Copper is required to enable the body to properly absorb, digest and use iron. Research shows that when iron absorption by cells decreases, copper absorption increases. There is a special relationship between copper and iron in the body's health.
- Iron supplements can cause dark stools
Iron supplements (tablets or fluid) cause the stools to become quite darkened (almost black) and this is quite normal, as it is due to the natural red-black colour of the iron. Sometime the liquid form of iron can cause the teeth to become temporarily discoloured when it comes into contact with them. If this occurs, then just brush the teeth with bicarbonate of soda to remove the temporary stain. To prevent it from happening in the first place, mix the liquid iron supplement with juice or try to avoid contact with the teeth when drinking it.