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Iron

Iron

Vivioptal Vitamins / Monday, March 4th, 2013

Iron is a pure chemical element with the symbol Fe on the periodic table. Iron has the atomic number 26, meaning that each atom of iron has 26 protons and 26 neutrons in its nucleus. Iron is a metallic element that is required for oxygen transport in the blood, proper enzymatic function, and neurotransmitter production.

Iron

Iron

Metallic Iron

Metallic Iron

 

What does iron do?

Iron is one of life’s most versatile elements because it is capable of existing in many different oxidation states. In other words, even though iron’s atomic nucleus always contains 26 protons and 26 neutrons, it isn’t always surrounded by 26 electrons. It is common for iron atoms to have as few as 20 and as many as 28 electrons, making it chemically reactive depending on which other types of atoms it encounters.

Iron is reactive with oxygen and binds to it easily. You can see this phenomenon when iron is left exposed to air and creates rust.

Iron’s most important job in the human body is to bind and carry oxygen. Iron serves as the centerpiece of the heme portion of the hemoglobin molecule found in every red blood cell. As blood flows through the capillaries of the lungs, iron in the hemoglobin binds oxygen atoms that then get transported to the rest of the body. When the red blood cell reaches an oxygen-poor body tissue, the oxygen is released from the iron molecule to provide nourishment for energy metabolism.

Iron is also required either constitutively or as a cofactor for hundreds of enzymes. Iron-dependent enzymes are responsible for critical processes in energy metabolism and muscle function.1

Iron has also been shown to be critical for proper brain development and neurotransmitter production in the fetal brain.2

 

Where does iron come from?

Iron is an abundant element in the earth’s crust, but iron deficiency remains the most common nutrient deficiency world-wide. Generally, iron is found in a wide variety of dietary sources, including shellfish, beans, organ meats, red meat, poultry, and enriched cereals.1

 

How much iron do I need? 

Infants, toddlers, adolescent girls, women of childbearing age, and pregnant women are at greater risk of iron deficiency.1

 

Recommended Dietary Allowances for Iron for Infants, Children, and Adults3

Age Males (mg/day) Females (mg/day) Pregnancy (mg/day) Lactation (mg/day)
7 to 12 months

11

11

-

-

1 to 3 years

7

7

-

-

4 to 8 years

10

10

-

-

9 to 13 years

8

8

-

-

14 to 18 years

11

15

27

10

19 to 50 years

8

18

27

9

51+ years

8

8

-

-

 

 

Check our products that contain Iron:

Vivioptal Multivitamin / Multimineral

Vivioptal Kids

 

References

1) Insel P, Turner RE, Ross D. Discovering Nutrition. 3rd ed. Jones and Bartlett, Sudbury Massachusetts. pp 422-427.

2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11509103

3) http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/

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