Peering Into the Function of Iron

Let me ask you a question, “How many of you know all the functions of iron your body?” Or know all the counterparts if has a sphere of influence over? Well, iron actually is more vital than its use in our blood. Iron contributes to organs, tissues and muscles in our bodies as well. But how do we really about iron and it functions?

Iron a mineral found in across our planet, in the soils, plants and animals. It presence influences the day to day activities in peoples, from school work to social interactions. But many people don’t have all the knowledge to understand how crucial iron is our lives. Thus, peering into the functions of iron and seeking out the unknown knowledge about this mineral presence a sense of urgency.

The leader of oxygen circulation, a constituent in the enzyme system, the regulator of body temperatures, the producer of red blood cells, hemoglobin and myoglobin, the stabilizer of brain function and immune strength and last, but not least the contributor to energy extraction; iron plays a huge role in regulating and sustaining our bodies.

An essential factor to the metabolic system, iron produces red bloods which essentially protect the body from infection by healing external and internal injuries through clots. Not only does create red blood cells, but it forms hemoglobin, a protein in which transports oxygen from the lungs to the body, and it aids in transporting oxygen to the body’s cells. Also, iron is the reason behind the dark shade of red of our blood, due to the oxygenation.

Another protein produced by iron is myoglobin, which is in our muscle cells, and stores, transports and releases oxygen found throughout the skeletal muscles and the heart. Thus muscle metabolism is established, where iron represents a vital element for muscle health. It helps provide a supply of oxygen required to contract the body’s muscles and form the substance (“cellular glue”) that the cell and fibrous tissues use to create connective tissue. Unfortunately, without red blood cells, it means no hemoglobin nor myoglobin to keeping activity of our muscles and cells.

Furthermore, iron not only works as a circulator and producer, but a stabilizer and regulator. Research has shown that the brain uses up to 20% of blood oxygen. Therefore linking iron to brain health and functionality. The proper flow of blood to the brain stimulates cognitive activity and helps create new neuron pathways to prevent cognitive disorders. More so iron creates a balance of brain activity, even in the neurotransmitters.

For instance, iron creates a stable synthesis of a number of essentials neurotransmitters, which is used by brain cells to communicate with one another. Nonetheless, iron balances the body’s health, even the regulatory system; our body temperatures which are controlled by metabolic and enzymes necessary dietary iron intake. In which iron is a constituent of various enzymes and myoglobin, cytochromes and catalase. But without iron present the body’s our organs would either slow or shut down.

However, people face problems with low or poor dietary iron intake, inability to absorb iron and excessive iron loss.

So, what do you do about this dilemma?

Well, there are two types of dietary irons: heme and noheme. Heme easily absorbed in the body due to the hemoglobin, which can be found in meats, poultry and fish. However, people consume foods that inhibit iron absorption like coffee. Coffee has caffeine, which inhibits the absorption of iron due to polyphenosis or phenoli compounds. A cup of coffee prevents 60 % of iron absorption.

Unlike heme iron, nonheme iron needs Vitamin C in order for people to absorb the iron successfully. Due to the fact that these foods that don’t have hemoglobin. Vitamin C-rich foods usually are oranges and strawberries go great with nonheme foods: fortified cereals and whole grains, dried raisins, nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetables. Once again avoid inhibit foods like: calcium-rich foods because they contain oxalic acid compounds that impair absorption of nonheme iron.

Unfortunately, low and poor iron intake can lead to iron deficiency anemia. A form of anemia when your body produces fewer and smaller red blood cells, thus decrease their ability to transport oxygen. Leaving people with symptoms such as: fatigue and body weakness, it affects memory or other mental functions in teens, (especially teenage females due to their menstrual cycle), slow cognitive and social development in children and susceptibility to infection. Iron deficiency anemia usually has symptoms of muscle weakness and discoloring or lack of color due to the low blood cells. Women are more prone to obtaining this form of anemia due to their menstrual cycle, child rearing and lactating.

In order to astray yourself from anemia and low iron intake is to balance you diet with different irons and avoid mixing inhibits with iron-rich foods. Or just consume less inhibit foods like coffee due to the caffeine. If you’re not sure if you’re anemic or not, best thing is to visit your health care provider. The can provide the tests you need to determine whether iron intake is stable or low.

About the author


Hi! My name is Marisa Baker, a student photojournalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

  • shantimom44

    I have a history of anemia and I have never heard that about coffee! Wow! Thanks for the information.

    • Marisa

      I’m know right? I didn’t even know about coffee affects iron myself. I went through like ten sources to verify my minds. You know because doctors always tell patients with migranes to drink coffee, to relieve the pressure. And with my mom being a nurse for thirty-two years now, she keeps me on my toes about nutrition and new medical findings.

      • shantimom44

        It really is scary what doctors either don’t bother to tell you or don’t know. Thanks again.