Iron-Man isn’t the only person who needs iron. We all do. Iron supplies our brain and muscles with the energy to function on a day-to-day basis. Take some of that iron away, and you are left feeling tired, easily irritable, reduced focus and concentration. Iron deficiency can often be hard to trace immediately, but it can impact our health in multiple ways. This blog tells you all you need to know about iron’s relationship with the human body - its use, what happens when its supply is inadequate, and the benefits of taking iron supplements.
Iron plays a fundamental role in a chain of bodily processes. To start with, our blood health directly depends on iron for haemoglobin production. Haemoglobin transports oxygen to the blood, which flows into our brain and muscles, allowing them to continue their functionality. Even our immune system, gastrointestinal processes, and body temperature regulation are intrinsically dependent on iron.
Pregnant women, athletes, and regular exercisers require more than the average intake of iron, as they are more prone to iron deficiency.
Due to iron’s low bioavailability, its deficiency is more common than we think. Bioavailability from an absorption perspective refers to the fraction of the nutrient being absorbed by our body and entering systemic circulation, in comparison to the total quantity of the nutrient consumed. The small intestine is not able to readily absorb iron in large quantities. This is aggravated by improper dietary balance, poor gastrointestinal health, and the absence of iron-absorption promoters such as Vitamin C.
A lack of iron can cause frequent tiredness, susceptibility to illness and disease, hair loss, headaches, and heart palpitations, amongst a slew of other problems.
The reason why pregnant women, athletes, and regular exercisers need more than the standard requirement of iron is that their red blood cell production and blood volume are also more than standard.
For pregnant women, blood volume and red blood production are increased due to the need to supply the growing fetus with oxygen and nutrients. Though iron absorption during pregnancy is enhanced, insufficient iron dietary intake can lead to iron deficiency. For athletes and regular exercisers, particularly females, iron is heavily utilised in pumping oxygen to the muscles. As a result, the haemoglobin supply needs to be sufficient. A lack thereof can quicken physical exertion and induce tiredness.
Dietary iron is categorised into heme and non-heme. Animal food sources, including meat and seafood, contain heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by our bodies. Non-heme iron is found in plants such as beans, nuts, vegetables, soy, and whole grains, and is harder to absorb for our body. This is because plant-based iron is harder to break down for our body and then absorb. Plant-based sources of iron include beans, nuts, soy, vegetables, and fortified grains.
Since dietary changes are mostly not enough to help reverse iron deficiency, taking iron supplements becomes necessary. It is all the more important that the supplement of your choice contains the right blend of minerals and nutrients to facilitate better iron absorption. The Swisse Ultiboost Iron Tablets include Vitamin B6, B12, and C, which boost red blood cell production, nervous system health, and overall well-being, as well as immune system functionality respectively.
It is medically advised that the daily iron intake for adults should be 8 mg (men) and 18 mg (women). The Swisse Ultiboost Iron Tablets come with the advised quantity of iron and can be consumed once a day, either during or directly after a meal.