Iron is one of the most abundant metals on earth. Its symbol is Fe and atomic number 26 . Represents about 5% of the earth’s crust and is the second abundant metal after aluminum and 4th in abundance behind oxygen. It is the main component of the Earth’s core (80%). It is essential to most life forms and to different normal human physiology metal. The average amount of iron in our body is around 4.5 gr. representing 0.005%. This is a trace mineral or trace element essential to life. The iron content in food is hydrolyzed in the stomach and then absorbed. The chelated iron or heme passes into the intestinal cells and then binds to a protein (transferring) so that it can thus be transported to the blood .
It is so important that the human body has developed strategies to keep; well, the excess iron is locked and stored in the bone marrow , the liver and spleen , and in times of scarcity the body draws on this reserve. ‘s hemoglobin retains most of the iron in the body. This red substance which comes from the combination of iron and protein transport oxygen to the cells of the tissues around the blood. The muscles have very little iron, but the plasma carries a small amount that is attached to the transferring is a betaglobulina . Iron deficiency results in a failure of hemoglobin leads to anemia.
High doses of iron increase the risk of coronary heart disease, as this mineral increases the formation of free radicals in the heart . The antioxidants , such as ascorbic acid and vitamin E , resulting from the reactions inhibit excessive oxidation. Iron is classified as: Hemic and not Hemic. The heme iron is easily absorbed while the non-heme iron is converted by means of hydro chloric acid in the stomach to ferrous iron and that is capable of being absorbed in the small intestine , specifically in the duodenum and upper jejunum.
Functions performed by Iron in Body :
These are some of the features that iron performs in the body:
- It is essential for the transport of oxygen through the blood to the tissues. The heme or heme part of hemoglobin and hemoglobin is composed of an iron atom. These are proteins that transport and store oxygen in our body. Hemoglobin, the blood protein transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Myoglobin plays an essential role in transporting and storing oxygen in muscle cells by regulating the oxygen according to the demand of the muscles when they come into action.
- It is next to Chrome , element transporter proteins.
- Part of the structure of the enzyme, catalase and peroxidase, which protects us against free radicals . The catalase and peroxidase are iron-containing enzymes that protect cells against the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (chemical that damages cells) making oxygen and water.
- It is necessary for the metabolism of B vitamins
Energy metabolism: Involved in the transport of energy in all cells by enzymes called cytochromes with heme or heme (iron) in composition.
- DNA Synthesis: The iron is involved in DNA synthesis as part of an enzyme, ribonucleotide reductase which is needed for the synthesis of DNA and cell division.
- Nervous System: Iron plays an important role in central nervous system as it is involved in regulating the biochemical mechanisms of the brain , in the production of neurotransmitters and other brain functions related to learning and memory as well as in certain motor functions and regulatory temperature.
- Detoxification and metabolism of drugs and environmental contaminants: Cytochrome P450 is a family of enzymes that contain iron in its composition and is involved in the degradation of endogenous substances ( steroids , bile salts) as well as in the detoxification of exogenous substances ie release substances that are not produced by our body.
- Immune system: The enzyme myeloperoxidase is present in the neutrophil as part of the blood cells responsible for defending the body against infection and foreign material. This enzyme, which has in its composition a heme group (iron) produces substances (hypochlorous acid) that are used by neutrophils to kill bacteria and other microorganisms.
Iron deficiency can cause:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), iron deficiency is considered the first nutritional disorder in the world. Approximately 80% of the population would iron deficiency while 30% would suffer from iron deficiency anemia. The development of iron deficiency and the onset is gradual, occurs with a negative iron balance ie when the intake of dietary iron does not meet the daily needs; then there is a decrease in body iron stores but hemoglobin levels remain normal. Furthermore anemia iron deficiency (iron deficiency anemia) is an advanced stage decreased iron; here hemoglobin levels are below normal. When iron deficiency occurs, the following situations may occur:
- Poor performance.
- Anemia more or less severe. It is characterized as microcytic hypochromic ie red blood cells have a smaller size than normal and the hemoglobin content is less giving RBCs.
- Difficulty making efforts.
- Births premature.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nails and hair weak and brittle.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- Weakness muscle.
- Affects the mental development of infants and children.
- Increased susceptibility to infections.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Glossitis (inflammation of the tongue).
- Difficulty maintaining body temperature.
- Sore head.
- Loss of weight.