Iron deficiency is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the body. It has a fundamental role in the formation of hemoglobin contained in red blood cells.
Iron is present in very small quantities in the body. A portion of this iron is removed daily. To maintain a sufficient amount of iron, replace losses of food intake. If the intake is inadequate compared to the losses he moved an imbalance with an iron deficiency that has health consequences.
The risk of iron deficiency
Iron deficiency results in anemia, accompanied by a reduction in physical and intellectual capacity, decreased resistance to infection, and during pregnancy to an increased risk of low birth weight, morbidity and mortality in neonates. In many developing countries, iron deficiency anemia is a serious public health problem that affects in some cases half the women and children.
There are several degrees of iron deficiency. The most visible iron deficiency is anemia, which can result in clinical signs (pallor, shortness of breath, fatigue etc.). However, the diagnosis of iron deficiency is mainly by blood tests. In addition to the measurement of hemoglobin can be measured iron stores in the body through other indicators and detecting moderate disabilities iron.
This is important because apart from anemia, and therefore no visible signs of iron deficiency can also have negative effects on health, including a reduction of physical activity capacity, decreased intellectual performance, reduced resistance to infections, and cause disturbances during pregnancy.
A balance tenir
The balance of iron status is very dependent on the level of iron in the body’s needs, which vary during the life (see recommended iron intakes).
These needs are higher:
Children and adolescents because of the rapid growth;
The women, from puberty to menopause, because of the additional losses due to menstruation iron;
Pregnant women because of fetal needs and changes in the woman’s body.
In fact, coverage of iron requirements is less easy to achieve as one might think. In France, recent studies have confirmed this problem: a significant part of the population, iron intake is inadequate because the iron concentration in the diet is too low. Even in affluent countries such as France, there are therefore anemia associated with nutritient deficiencies problems.
Food contains varying amounts of iron. It exists in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron absorbed differently by the body.
The non-haem iron in foods of plant origin, eggs and dairy products. It is highly bioavailable, meaning that just 5% is absorbed. In addition, the absorption of non-heme iron varies depending on the food in which it is located. As well as tea, coffee, wine, egg yolk or sound decrease its absorption, however the meat, fish and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C to promote.
Heme iron, constituting the blood and muscles of animals, is contained in meat, fish and animal products. About 25% is absorbed.
Do not throw in the spinach!
The iron-rich foods are the most offal, meat and pulses (see ABC Nutrition and Food). Please note, green vegetables, including spinach are rather poor in iron, contrary to what Popeye thinks …
But beyond the amount of iron provided by food, the concept of “Iron rich” must take into account the amount of iron actually absorbed by the body.
Prevent the occurrence of iron deficiency by eating enough foods rich in iron assimilated well, especially for children, adolescents, and during pregnancy and lactation.
Warning: in case of anemia, see your doctor for a checkup and medical monitoring.