Iron 

Recommended Dietary Intakes
Men - 7 mg
Pre-menopausal women - 12 -16 mg.
Post-menopausal women - 5 - 7 mg.
Pregnant women - add 10 - 20 mg.

This Mineral Is Essential For...

  • transportation and storage of oxygen in the blood and muscles.

  • energy production.

  • immune functioning.

  • growth.

  • produces haemoglobin and myoglobin.

Sources

Red meat, chicken, seafood, eggs and other animal products, dark-green vegetables, avocados, whole grains, nuts, dried fruit, enriched breads and cereals and other plant foods.

Comments

Coffee, tea, soy-based foods, antacids, ulcers and tetracycline inhibit iron absorption. You need to have enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach for iron to be absorbed properly. Other substances required for proper absorption of iron include - vitamin A, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and the B vitamins.

Women need more iron before menopause than after, because menstruation causes iron loss each month. People who have special iron intake needs include menstruating or pregnant women, children under two years of age, vegetarians, anyone with bleeding conditions such as haemorrhoids or bleeding stomach ulcers, and anyone taking the medications listed above.

Deficiency Can Cause...

  • anaemia

  • fatigue, paleness, dizziness.

  • sensitivity to cold.

  • listlessness

  • irritability and nervousness.

  • poor concentration.

  • heart palpitations.

  • susceptibility to infection.

  • brittle hair or hair loss.

  • digestive problems.

  • ridges running lengthwise on nails.

  • obesity.

Multivitamins will give you extra iron. It is not advisable to take straight iron tablets unless specifically recommended.

Too much iron can also cause problems, such as - inhibited absorption of phosphorus, interference with immune function, and may increase your risk of developing cancer, cirrhosis, or heart attack. Symptoms of iron toxicity include diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, fatigue, stomach cramps, and weak pulse.