Between 3 and 4 grams of iron are in a healthy adult body.
Approximately 67% of this is bound up in the hemoglobin content of the blood.
The remainder is divided among the muscles as myoglobin, in various cell
components called cytochromes (respiratory enzymes, and in several storage
sites, the major one being the liver).
The red pigment of blood is called hemoglobin, otherwise
known as the oxygen carrier. When there is insufficient iron, hemoglobin cannot
be made, and the quantity is therefore reduced in the red blood cells. Less
oxygen is then carried from the lungs to the body cells that need oxygen, and
the body cells therefore function less efficiently, and have a shorter life
MYOGLOBIN is an iron containing protein in the
muscles that acts as a storage deposit for oxygen required by muscle tissue.
Low levels of oxygen in the blood due to iron deficiency are also seen in low
myoglobin levels, which causes inefficient muscles.
CATALASE is an iron-containing enzyme present in
cells that has the function of destroying hydrogen peroxide, an intracellular
poison produced during some body processes. When a person is deficient in iron
the iron level in catalase drops even before the level of hemoglobin, thus
robbing the body of an invaluable intracellular detoxifier.
MYELOPEROXIDASE is an iron-containing enzyme
necessary for the formation of white blood cells, the cells which repel and
destroy invading bacteria. When iron levels are low the bone marrow cannot
supply sufficient white blood cells, because the iron containing enzymes such
as myeloperoxidase are unable to perform normally.
CYTOCHROMES are intra-cellular enzymes required for
respiration inside the cells, and are the last link in the oxygen-carrying
chain that starts in the lungs, where hemoglobin takes up oxygen. Iron is an
essential constituent of cytochromes.
AVAILABILITY IN THE DIET
Meats are the best source of iron for ready assimilation.
Heme iron is the kind of iron found in meats. Non-heme iron is
found in vegetables and cereals. In your diet you will experience much greater
assimilation from the Heme-Iron found in meats. Vegetarians should probably
supplement their diet with additional iron, since the iron in vegetables is
poorly assimilated. The iron in grains even more poorly due to the presence of
phytic acid, which inactivates iron. References to Popeye and his spinach
consumption perpetrates a popular myth eat a lot of spinach to get your
iron. While rich in iron, spinach also contains oxalic acid which
inactivates the iron. Spinach with the oxalic acid removed is an excellent
source of iron, and the plant material without the oxalic acid naturally
chelates the iron for maximum assimilation. This form is probably only
available to the average person in supplement form. Coffee or tea drinking
greatly reduces the amount of iron available for any of these functions. People
who are drinking anywhere from 5 to 20 cups per day very frequently are
suffering serious iron deficiency. Excessive alcohol intake may also result in
WHEN TO TAKE AN IRON SUPPLEMENT
After lunch or at least an hour after taking any other
supplements heavy in calcium, magnesium or zinc, since they tend to neutralize
each other. The most effective assimilation occurs when taken with some form of
meat protein. Vitamin E and Iron are not incompatible. This is a popular
misconception based on considering all forms of iron being similar. Ferric iron
does destroy vitamin E and in so doing is itself converted to ferrous iron.
Ferrous iron has no such incompatibility, and in this form of it is quite all
right to mix ferrous iron and vitamin E in the same formulation, or in
supplements being taken at one time.
LOW HEMOGLOBIN (ANEMIA) RESULTING
INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE because
the brain is not getting the oxygen it needs.
THE RED FLARE IS MISSING spreading
from the half moons on your fingernails.
THE NORMALLY HEALTHY PINK MEMBRANE
OF YOUR EYELIDS BE COMES PALE AND COLORLESS
LOW MYOGLOBIN resulting in the
muscles tiring easily and becoming flaccid.
LOWER RESISTANCE TO DISEASE due to
enzymes like myeloperoxidase without which not enough white blood cells are
produced to fight unwelcome invaders.
GENERALIZED PRURITUS (ITCHING),
particularly around the arms, genitals, legs and abdomen.
TINGLING AND "PINS AND NEEDLES" IN
THE FINGERS AND TOES
LACK OF STAMINA
FAST PULSE RATE
LOSS OF APPETITE