Iron is essential for well-being. It has a number of vital roles in the human body. Its most famous role is the synthesis of red blood cells, entrusted with the carriage of oxygen within the body. Iron deficiency anaemia is the result of absence of much needed iron within the body.
How much iron is enough
The amount of iron a person should have depends on that individual's age, overall health and gender. Toddlers and infants require more iron compared to adults, as their body grows fast. Girls and boys require identical amounts of iron in childhood- 10 milligrams per day from four to eight years of age and eight milligrams per day from nine years to 13 years.
A woman needs to consume more iron at adolescence. They require more iron compared to men as they lose blood every month due to their menstrual periods. This is the reason women between 19 and 50 years of age must intake 18 mg iron every day. In contrast, men needs only 8 mg.
Post menopause, the iron need of a women drops with the end of her menstrual cycle. With the start of menopause, both women and men require identical quantities of iron- 8 mg every day.
Iron may be required in increased quantities if:
A woman is pregnant or need to breastfeed
Suffer from kidney failure
Suffer from ulcer- it may cause loss of blood
Suffer from gastrointestinal disorder which prevents body from normal absorption of iron. Incidences like ulcerative colitis, celiac disease or Crohn's disease are such disorders.
There is an excessive consumption of antacids, that may prevent body from iron absorption
The person had bariatric or weight loss surgery
The person does intense exercise as this activity destroys the red blood cells
Vegetarians or vegans may need to take iron supplements as the body is unable to absorb iron available in plants. It absorbs more better from meat.
Signs of iron deficiency
People with iron deficiency or anaemia does not know they suffer from the condition until they exhibit the symptoms or signs. These show as pale appearance, difficulty in exercising or fatigue.
A person deficient in iron will exhibit:
Shortage of breath
Have faster heartbeat
Crave out of way substances like clay
Have cold feet and hands
Suffer from loss of hair and have spoon shaped and brittle nails
Sores at the mouth corner
Iron can be had in sufficient quantities from fortified cereals, dried fruit, beans, and red meat. Iron supplements should be taken only if recommended by a doctor.