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Iron - Uses, Benefits, Sources

Iron is considered as the one of most essential element on this earth. Major role of iron is to aid the red blood cells to transport the oxygen to the different parts of body. Iron also helps in the different processes inside the cells which help to produce energy for our body. Iron is important for the formation of red blood cells (hematopoiesis). Iron is part of hemoglobin which is pigment of red blood cells. Hemoglobin binds to the oxygen and ease its transport by arteries to lungs.

Health Benefits Of Iron

  •  Formation of hemoglobin is the major function of iron. It gives red shade to the blood.
  •  It is great element for muscle health. It maintains the elasticity, tone and strength of the muscle.
  •  It supports healthy flow of the blood in the brain.
  •  It regulates body temperature.
  •  It carries oxygen from one cell to the other. It acts as carrier of oxygen.
  •  It helps in the treatment of anemia.
  •  It promotes the synthesis of number of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and nor epinephrine.
  •  It provides strength to the immune system.
  •  It helps in the energy metabolism.
  •  It helps in enzyme production which is essential for the formation of new cells, hormones, amino acids and neurotransmitters.
  •  It helps to maintain the overall health of body.

Sources Of Iron


  1.  Heam Iron – This type of iron can be easily absorbed by body. It is available in the animal based foods like poultry, red meat and fish.
  2.  Non heam iron - This type of iron is found in the plant based foods like vegetables, cereals and legumes. Non heam iron can't be absorbed easily like heam iron. It is even present in the diet in adequate amounts and an essential source of minerals.

Side Effects Of High Intake Of Iron

High consumption of iron is toxic and we must avoid it.


  •  Iron poisoning may occur in the people especially in children due to the over dose of iron supplements.
  •  Hemochromatosis is the genetic disorder associated with the over consumption of iron. If the hemochromatosis is not treated timely may increase the risk of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, liver problems and heart failure.
  •  Over dose of iron also increase the risk of cancer.

Dosage Of Iron


  •  0-6 months require 0.27mg
  •  7-12 months require 11mg


  •  1-3 year require 7 mg
  •  4-8 year require 10 mg
  •  9-13 years require 8 mg


  •  14-18 years males require 11mg and females require 15 mg.
  •  19-50 years males require 8mg and females require 18 mg. In case of pregnancy iron required is 27 mg
  •  Above age of 51 males requires 8mg and females requires 8 mg.