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Iron supplementation and its main functions
Iron supplementation and its main functions

Iron supplementation and its main functions

Date: February 26, 2021

Iron supplementation must always be monitored through blood tests to avoid the occurrence of long-term side effects.
In the case of iron, the analyzes are those of serum ferritin such that if it is lower than 20 mg / l for women and 30 mg / l for men, it indicates inadequate reserves.

Symptoms given by iron deficiency

  • Abundant menstruation (menorrhagia) and bleeding of various types.
  • Pregnancy
  • Diet without food of animal origin or in which there is a lack of foods containing iron (this is the case of vegans and vegetarians)
  • Excessive iron loss due to microtrauma and therefore small haemorrhages, especially locally, especially for those who practice intense physical activity
  • Asthenia (weakness and general tiredness)
  • Drowsiness
  • Anemic skin discoloration (paleness)
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Its essential to make proper use of these supplements so as not to exceed respectively 45 mg in subjects over 14 years and 40 mg in children under 14 (an average intake of about 20 mg / day is recommended).
The side effects of ferrous supplements also include several other disorders of gastrointestinal origin:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • retched abdominal
  • pain black
  • discoloration of the stool

Iron: what is it?

Its an essential component of the hemoglobin of red blood cells and is essential for the production of muscle myoglobin.
Find it in various enzymes including those that deal with the transformation of beta-carotene into vitamin A, the synthesis of nucleic acids and the production of collagen.

Its main functions

  • Transport of oxygen to tissues and muscles through hemoglobin and myoglobin
  • Muscle contraction
  • Support for several enzymes

Two different types of iron are distinguished on the basis of the bond with hemoglobin and its oxidation state:

1) non-heme iron: it is bound to deposition proteins (ferritin) with Fe3 + oxidation (ferric ion) this ion is present in products of vegetable origin such as whole grains, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables in particular in asparagus and spinach . Non-heme iron can be absorbed only and only after being reduced to Fe2 +.
2) heme iron: it is bound to hemoglobin or myoglobin in an oxidation state Fe2 + which allows it to bind oxygen. In this form, a glycoprotein that transfers it to the hemoglobin of the bone marrow is present in some intracellular enzymes and in transferrin.
Unlike non-heme iron, this ion is found above all in meat, egg yolk and fish in general.

Recommended doses

Adult men and postmenopausal women: 9.3 and 7.5 mg per day respectively.
Women of childbearing age: up to 18-20 mg, this taking into account the losses due to menstruation (up to 25-50 milligrams of iron for each menstrual cycle).
Adolescent phase: 12 mg per day for males and females not yet menstruating.
Children from 6 months to 3 years: yes 7 mg / day Children aged 4 to 10 years: approximately 9 mg / day
The infant: exploits the iron reserves accumulated during fetal life. During the weaning period, it is advisable to favor foods containing heme iron, absolutely avoiding those foods that inhibit the absorption of iron, such as tea in order to avoid the development of early deficiencies.

Iron supplements are never in pure form but rather in association with other substances such as vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B. These substances promote cell growth through an increase in the number of erythrocytes and therefore in hemoglobin, which results in a greater probability of complexing the iron taken through diet or supplementation, facilitating its absorption.
Iron is also often found in complexes with magnesium and other minerals, these supplements have the function of replenishing salts and FE in the post workout.


Since most antibiotics act against iron absorption and given that after antibiotic treatment its recommended to do a course of lactic ferments as antibiotics destroy the intestinal bacterial flora, the association with this complex of our molecule offers a double function or an appropriate integration of both ferments and iron.

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