Iron Deficiency: It's Fairly Easy To Avoid

Iron is a very important dietary mineral. It is vital in forming hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells which absorbs oxygen from the lungs and transports it through the circulatory system. Iron is also vital for transporting oxygen from the blood stream into the muscle cells. The equivalent of hemoglobin, but at the muscle site, is called myoglobin.

Generally speaking the more iron a person has the more efficient their cardiovascular system will be -- up to a healthy amount of obviously. There are other factors of course, but iron is an important one. People that live at higher altitudes have higher levels of iron/hemoglobin. This is an adaptation to the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes. The adaptation can be two-fold; it could be a genetic adaptation, or acclimatization.

Our bodies are very good at holding onto the iron we already have. However, with a poor diet, an iron deficiency could result. A deficiency can result in chronic fatigue, anemia, depression, and headaches.

Sources high in iron include eggs, spinach, soy, flour, cereals, beans, legumes, and red meat. Of course, there are also pills one could take to supplement their iron intake but should not do so unless they have consulted a physician.

On the other hand if too much iron is consumed toxicity can occur which can lead to liver and heart muscle damage. However, this is very rare. In history this has occurred to individuals that ate large amounts of liver and little of anything else.

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