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What Does Iron Do?
Iron is a metal found on Earth which is necessary for most forms of life as well as for normal human physiology. It forms part of many proteins and enzymes that maintain a healthy body.
Iron in the human body has very important functions:
Insufficient levels of iron intake can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Impaired iron absorption or iron loss due to blood loss from menstruation, injury and gastrointestinal bleeding can also cause iron-deficiency anemia.
Signs of iron-deficiency anemia include:
Foods rich in iron include corned beef, lean meat, offal (particularly in liver and kidney), beans, lentils, egg-yolk, all dark green vegetables, prunes, and raisins.
Your body is able to absorb only a small amount of the iron in foods that you eat. Up to 22 percent of the iron in meat is absorbed, while only 1 - 8 percent is absorbed from eggs and plant foods. Iron absorption can be further reduced by tannins (e.g., teas) and phytates (found in nuts, grains, and seeds). Citrus fruits, however, can form complexes with iron that increase absorption.
Note that you shouldn't take iron supplements without having your iron saturation and ferritin levels tested first. Too much iron in the body, called iron overload, can damage a number of organs including the heart, liver and pancreas.
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