What is Iron?
Iron, an essential mineral, is a key element in the metabolism of almost all living
organisms.


Function of Iron:
Much of the body's iron is attached to hemoglobin molecules in red blood cells, and
thereby delivers oxygen to all of the tissues.  The extra iron is stored in the liver,
spleen, bone marrow, and muscles.


Deficiency of Iron:
Individuals who are at highest risk of iron deficiency include, pregnant women, young
women during their reproductive years, and children.  Significant iron deficiency leads
to anemia.  Anemia can be mild, moderate, or severe.  Iron deficiency anemia can
occur due to several circumstances including: blood loss (such as that from a
bleeding ulcer, menstruation, severe trauma, surgery, or a malignant tumor);
pregnancy; and rapid growth during infancy, early childhood, and adolescence.

Symptoms of anemia include weakness and fatigue.  People with severe anemia also
experience shortness of breath.  Symptoms of mild anemia can be vague.  

Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.  Therefore, it is
important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.


Toxicity (Iron Overdose):
Common side effects that are associated with taking iron supplements include
stomach discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn.  Consuming
excessive amounts of iron over a long period of time can lead to iron overload
disease.  Symptoms of iron overload disease include skin discoloration, diabetes, liver
damage, and other complications.  Severe iron toxicity can lead to destruction of cells
in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and even
death.  All supplements should be kept in childproof bottles and out of children's reach.


Caution: Eating natural foods that are high in iron is the safest and healthiest way to
get an adequate supply of the nutrient.  Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should
always consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before starting doses of
supplements.  Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that you first
consult with their pediatrician.  Also, some supplements may interfere with
medications.  If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with
your physician before taking any supplements.  All supplements should be kept in
childproof bottles and out of children's reach.


Iron Food Chart (List of Foods High in Iron):

Beef , cooked, 3 ounces - (2.32 mg)
Chicken, dark meat, cooked, 3 ounces - (1.13 mg)
Oysters 6 medium - (5.04 mg)
Shrimp, cooked, 8 large - (1.36 mg)
Tuna, light, canned, 3 ounces - (1.30 mg)
Black-strap molasses 1 tablespoon - (3.50 mg)
Raisin bran cereal, dry, 1 cup - (5.79-18.00 mg)
Raisins, seedless, 1 small box ~1.5 ounces - (0.81 mg)
Prune juice 6 fluid ounces - (2.28 mg)
Prunes, dried plums, 5 - (0.45 mg)
Potato, with skin, baked, 1 medium - (1.87 mg)
Kidney beans, cooked, 1/2 cup - (1.97 mg)
Lentils, cooked, 1/2 cup - (3.30 mg)
Tofu, firm, 1/4 block ~1/3 cup - (2.15 mg)
Cashew nuts 1 ounce - (1.89 mg)


Sources:

American Dietetic Association: Complete Food And Nutrition Guide (2nd Edition)
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and More
Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH

University of Maryland Medical Center - umm.edu

Linus Pauling Institute - oregonstate.edu

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Eating foods that are high in iron
can help to prevent conditions
such as impaired intellectual
development in children,
pregnancy complications, and
impaired immune system
function.  Foods that are high in
iron include: meat, poultry, fish,
black-strap molasses, lentils,
kidney beans, and prunes.      
Heme iron (from meat, fish, and
poultry) is better absorbed than
non-heme iron (from plants and
dairy).
Copyright © EveryNutrient.com
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only.  Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise
program.
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