Name (common): Iron
Iron is a mineral, essential for human health. Iron is found in the haem form, which comes from animal sources and also the non-haem form, from plants and dairy products. Haem iron is absorbed 2-3 times more effectively, dietary sources include lean red meat, poultry, fish and shellfish. Non-haem iron is found in plant and dairy sources such as egg yolks, nuts, legumes, dried fruit, vegetables and tofu.
Functions and general science:
Iron is a key component of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Iron is also involved in oxygen storage within muscles and releases it to meet increased metabolic demands during muscle contraction.
While it is important for health and wellbeing for everyone to meet their iron requirements, there are several groups that may have an increased need. These include:
1. Children 6 months – 4 years, due to inadequate reserves to meet physiological requirements and rapid growth phases.
2. Adolescents, due to growth spurts and the consequent need to create an increased number of red blood cells.
3. Women due to menstrual blood loss
4. Pregnant women women due to foetal demands and expanding blood volume
Iron absorption occurs in the small intestine, the amount absorbed can vary and is dependent on whether the source is haem or non-haem. The presence of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) also assists absorption, while the consumption of phytate-containing foods such as high fibre cereals, whole grains or nuts can inhibit the absorption.
The information provided in reference to this ingredient is general in nature and provided as information only. Any product specific therapeutic claims for this ingredient are linked to specific dosage requirements based on evidence of traditional or scientific nature.