Iron (Fe) is a key element in the metabolism of almost all living organisms. In humans, iron is an essential component of hundreds of proteins and enzymes (1, 2).

Iron is often the metal ion incorporated into the 'heme complex'; an essential component of proteins, which mediate redox reactions, and of oxygen carrier proteins such as hemoglobin.

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Health Functions

Calcium is involved in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin, oxygen transport, the immune system, and cognitive development and function.

Disease Risk Reduction

Several possible mechanisms associate iron deficiency anemia with poor cognitive development in children.

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Things to know about Iron

  • Other Applications

    The most important use of iron supplements is to treat anemia caused by iron deficiency.

  • Intake Recommendations

    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron is dependent on age, gender, and other factors.

  • Supply Situation

    Surveys for populations in eight European countries have shown average iron intakes of 15 mg/day in men, and about 12 mg/day in women (23).

  • Deficiency

    Most of the symptoms of iron deficiency are a result of the associated anemia, and may include fatigue, rapid heart rate, and rapid breathing on exertion.

  • Sources

    Foods high in iron (Fe) include dark leafy greens like spinach, dairy products, red meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish.

  • Safety

    Accidental overdose due to consumption of iron-containing products is the leading cause of iron poisoning in children under 6.

  • References

    Consult the full list of scientific references.