Iron: ‘The blood-building mineral’

Iron is the main component needed for the production of haemoglobin, the pigment within our red blood cells, where it is required for oxygen transportation from the lungs to the body’s tissues, and the carbon dioxide transportation from the tissues to the lungs.

In addition to transporting oxygen through the bloodstream, iron is also a component of myoglobin, a pigment which functions in the muscles in a similar fashion as haemoglobin in the blood, allowing muscle cells to retain oxygen.

Iron is also a component of many enzymes required for good health which influence energy and metabolism, the production of collagen, brain neurotransmitters and DNA.

As with all vitamins and minerals, balance is required. Folic Acid functions together with Vitamin B12 in maintaining healthy cell division and DNA synthesis. A deficiency of folic acid can cause megaloblastic anaemia resulting in immature, enlarged cells often containing excessive haemoglobin. Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of the insulation sheath ‘myelin’ which surrounds our nerve cells and plays a critical role in proper energy metabolism and nerve function.

If an Iron supplement causes digestive upset and constipation it is because it is being poorly absorbed by the body. The ferrous types of Iron have this effect on many people. There are other types of Iron such as Bisglycinate or amino-acid chelated Iron which don’t irritate the gastrointestinal system and are non-constipating, therefore are better absorbed by the body.

Good dietary sources of iron include algaes such as spirulina and chlorella, blackstrap molasses, liver, red meat, pumpkin seeds, almonds, prunes and raisins.

As Iron, folic acid and B12 work hand and hand in the body they are usually best supplemented together. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of Iron.

Nature’s Plus Hemaplex contains 42.5mg of Iron, 200 mcg of folic acid, 250mcg of Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin ), vitamin C, copper, zinc plus much more. It is possible to take two capsules a day for people deficient in iron. Sixty capsules cost €15.25. A chewable version is also available.

For further information contact Susan in Au Naturel, Irishtown, Athlone on (090 ) 6487993.

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