What is Iron?

Girl eating an apple

Did you know that iron is a relatively abundant element in the universe? What you probably didn’t realise is that it is also present in the sun and many types of stars (1). It’s amazing, isn’t it? Today, however, we won’t be discussing interstellar space, but about the iron that we regularly ingest in our diet. So, what is iron?

This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen throughout the body. In fact, low iron levels mean your body doesn’t produce haemoglobin, and you will have fewer red blood cells. If this happens, your organs won’t get enough oxygen, and you’ll feel tired, if not worse. That’s why we want to look at the role and functions of iron. Are you ready?

Key Facts

  • The human body needs iron to grow and develop. Otherwise, it would be unable to fight infections, amongst many other things. You would feel tired and incapable of doing your job, especially if it involves physical activity.
  • In fact, iron deficiency affects about 30% of the world’s population! You need to obtain iron in your diet, but this isn’t always possible. In that case, Sundt Nutrition‘s liposomal iron supplements are there for you.
  • Have you ever heard of liposomal supplements? Backed up by extensive scientific research, they are also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. On top of that, they contain vitamin C to boost the absorption of iron. You’ll love them!

Iron: What You Need to Know

Do you know what the functions of iron are for our organism? Why do all living beings need this mineral? There are serious reasons for this. Our health is at stake! In the following section, we will answer any questions you may have about this important nutrient.

What is iron and how much do we need daily?

Iron is a mineral that our organism needs to grow and develop. In other words, the body uses iron to produce haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells used to transport oxygen from the lungs to other organs (2, 3).

In addition, the body also needs iron to produce certain hormones. Adults have different needs for iron depending on their age and gender:

  • An adult woman of childbearing age will need about 18 mg/day of iron.
  • An adult man will need about 9 mg/day of iron.
lovely couple
Our body needs iron to grow and develop. (Source: Bertolli: 38611840/ 123rf.com)

What are the functions of iron in the body?

Iron has many functions in the organism. You can learn more about the most important ones below: (4, 5, 6)

  • Oxygen transport. It allows oxygen to travel from the lungs to our tissues.
  • Cellular processes. Iron is not only important for the transport of oxygen, but also for other cellular processes in which substances that protect our well-being are generated.
  • Immune system. The proper functioning of our defences depends, to a large extent, on a sufficient amount of iron.
  • Energy production. Iron is essential for many chemical processes, especially those that generate the energy we need in daily life.

How does iron deficiency affect our health?

Insufficient levels of iron in the body can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. This condition results in a lower number of red blood cells containing lower amounts of haemoglobin (8, 9, 10).

Regardless of the cause (either low dietary iron intake or excessive blood loss), iron deficiency anaemia may cause some of the following signs and symptoms:

Weakness

Weakness and extreme tiredness, for instance, are some of the very first symptoms.

Difficulty with physical work

Your ability to perform physical tasks will be limited.

Pallor

The lack of iron can make your skin unusually pale.

Respiratory infections

You may be more vulnerable to infection, especially of the respiratory tract.

Immune system

Alterations in cellular immunity reduce the body’s defences.

Problems in pregnancy and childbirth

There is an increased risk of death associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Low birth weight is common, as are premature babies and a possible decrease in the child’s ability to learn.

headache in the workplace
Weakness and extreme tiredness are some of the very first symptoms of iron deficiency. (Source: Melnyk: 115528001/ 123rf.com)

Who is exposed to iron deficiency?

You may have less iron if you lose blood (like women during their period), if you consume excessively low amounts, or if you have intestinal malabsorption. There are other risk factors: (11, 12)

Vegetarians, blood donors, and athletes

You won’t eat meat or fish if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, in which case you may suffer from a lack of iron. It can also happen if you frequently donate blood or are an athlete, especially if you are a woman.

Haemophilia

People with haemophilia, a genetic disease, may be at risk of anaemia. This includes asymptomatic female carriers with abundant menstruation.

Menstruation, pregnancy, and breastfeeding

Women are at increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia, in particular:

  • During menstruation. Especially if the woman has abundant periods.
  • During pregnancy, after birth, or while breastfeeding. During these periods, the need for iron increases and it can sometimes be difficult to obtain it from the diet alone.
Seafood on ice
Oysters are rich in iron. (Source: Leitner: 121965274/ 123rf.com)

What factors influence iron absorption?

The assimilation, or absorption, of iron depends on a number of factors that reduce or promote it. We have summed them up in the following table: (13, 14)

Reduced iron absorption Increased iron absorption
Coffee, tea, cow milk Vitamin C
Cereals, fizzy sparkling drinks Acidic foods, such as tomato sauce
Dietary fibre, antacids  
Multivitamins containing calcium, zinc, manganese, or copper  

Improving Iron Levels in the Body

There are various ways to raise your iron level. Changing your eating habits is one of them, but you can also do so effortlessly by opting for liposomal iron supplements. Have you heard of them before? If not, it’s about time! No doubt you’ll love them.

Changes in diet

As you probably know by now, iron absorption depends on the bioavailability of food. This refers to the proportion of iron that is absorbed and used by the body.

In that regard, absorption varies from 1-5% in vegetables to 10-25% in meat and fish. Let’s have a look at different foods and their iron content: (11, 17)

  • Oysters: 56 mg (milligrams) per 100 grams;
  • Clams: 24 mg per 100 grams;
  • Dry legumes: 5.3-8.5 mg per 100 grams;
  • Wholemeal bread: 2.5 mg per 100 grams;
  • Beef: 2-3.5 mg per 100 grams;
  • Fish: 0.7-2 mg per 100 grams;
  • White bread: 1.7 mg per 100 grams.

If you are determined to change your eating habits, remember that 15-20% of the iron in food is absorbed through a varied diet that includes foods of animal origin and vitamin C.

And if your daily life doesn’t allow you to adopt this type of diet, turn to Sundt Nutrition‘s liposomal supplements. You won’t regret it!

Woman feeding her baby
Women are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency, especially during pregnancy, after childbirth, or while breastfeeding. (Source: Tomsickova: 117810277/ 123rf.com)

Liposomal supplements

It is common for traditional iron supplements to produce side effects such as stomach upset. However, Sundt Nutrition’s liposomal iron supplements are perfect for your digestion. Why, you ask? Because they are based on liposome technology. Here’s what you need to know! (11, 15, 16)

What are liposomes?

These products of nanotechnology are like little bubbles that very much resemble our cells. The iron is enclosed in these liposomes, the latest technology enabling them to reach your body faster and with much greater bioavailability.

What is bioavailability?

This term refers to the percentage of nutrients that reach your body. With liposomal supplements, this percentage is higher and the nutrients can travel through your bloodstream much faster.

And medical research studies say it, not us! We have already increased the effectiveness of the administration of drugs and supplements through liposomes.

Why are liposomal supplements better than traditional products?

First of all, you’ll be saying goodbye to stomach aches. Secondly, they are more cost-effective. Indeed, the increased bioavailability means that you pay less for much more. Liposome supplements truly boost their value for money.

What if I am a strict vegetarian?

¡It doesn’t matter if you are a vegetarian or a vegan! Sundt Nutrition‘s liposomal iron supplements do not contain any animal or genetically modified ingredients, and the vitamin C will boost your defences!

Why is vitamin C added to liposomal supplements?

Because ascorbic acid (or vitamin C) increases the absorption of iron. In fact, each of our capsules contains 35 mg of this important nutrient, for a real boost!

Our Conclusions

Iron deficiency causes anaemia, which is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, affecting approximately 30% of the world’s population. Knowing this, it is clear that you need iron in your daily diet to avoid affecting your immune system.

Today’s eating habits are not always the best suited to providing the iron our body needs. That’s why we recommend Sundt Nutrition‘s liposomal iron supplements. Say goodbye to the side effects on the stomach! You won’t want to try any other supplements, you’ll see!

If you enjoyed our article, feel free to share it on your social media. You can also leave us a comment below, we look forward to your feedback!

(Source of featured image: Macniak: 72010636/ 123rf.com)

References (17)

1. Iron. Los Alamos National Laboratory. Disponible online
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2. Iron. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Disponible online
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3. Iron. Harward T. H. Chan. School of Public Health. Disponible online
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4. Iron. Department of Health and Human Services, Government of the State of Victoria, Australia. Disponible online
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5. Iron uptake and transport across physiological barriers. Kari A. Duck and James R. Connor. doi: 10.1007 / s10534-016-9952-2. Disponible online
Source

6. Functions of iron in the body. Dr. Catherine Shaffer, Ph.D.Reviewed by Dr. Liji Thomas, MD. News Medical Life Sciences. Disponible online
Source

7. Informe del comité científico de la Agencia Española de la Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) sobre Ingestas Nutricionales de Referencia para la población española. Disponible onlin
Source

8. Iron. LibreTexts; Medicine. Disponible online
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9. Consecuencias de la deficiencia de hierro. Manuel Olivares G, Tomás Walter K. Laboratorio de Micronutrientes, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos (INTA), Universidad de Chile. Rev. chil. nutr. v.30 n. 3 Santiago dic. 2003. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-75182003000300002. Disponible online
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10. Iron deficiency: causes, consequences and strategies to overcome this nutritional problem. José R Boccio, Venkatesh Iyengar. DOI: 10.1385 / BTER: 94: 1: 1. Disponible online
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11. Iron deficiency anemia. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH). Disponible online
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12. Iron deficiency anemia. Mayo Clinic. Disponible online
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13. Iron. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Disponible online
Source

14. Individualized treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults Michael Alleyne, McDonald K. Horne and Jeffery L. Miller. Disponible online
Source

15. Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury. Janelle L. Davis, Hunter L. Paris, Joseph W. Beals, Scott E. Binns, Gregory R. Giordano, Rebecca L. Scalzo, Melani M. Schweder, Emek Blair and Christopher Bell. Journal ListNutr Metab Insightsv.9; 2016PMC4915787. Disponible onlin
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16. Oxidative stability of emulsions fortified with iron: the role of liposomal phospholipids. Alime Cengiz, Talip Kahyaoglu, Karin Schröen, Claire Berton‐Carabin. J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Apr; 99(6): 2957–2965. Published online 2019 Jan 17. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9509. PMCID: PMC6590114. Disponible online
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17. El hierro en la alimentación Purificación Gómez-Álvarez Salinas. Licenciada en Farmacia. Vol. 18. Núm. 2. Páginas 54-57 (Febrero 2004). Disponible online
Source

Official website
Iron. Los Alamos National Laboratory. Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Iron. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Iron. Harward T. H. Chan. School of Public Health. Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Iron. Department of Health and Human Services, Government of the State of Victoria, Australia. Disponible online
Go to source
Scientific Article
Iron uptake and transport across physiological barriers. Kari A. Duck and James R. Connor. doi: 10.1007 / s10534-016-9952-2. Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Functions of iron in the body. Dr. Catherine Shaffer, Ph.D.Reviewed by Dr. Liji Thomas, MD. News Medical Life Sciences. Disponible online
Go to source
Official Document
Informe del comité científico de la Agencia Española de la Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) sobre Ingestas Nutricionales de Referencia para la población española. Disponible onlin
Go to source
Official website
Iron. LibreTexts; Medicine. Disponible online
Go to source
Scientific Article
Consecuencias de la deficiencia de hierro. Manuel Olivares G, Tomás Walter K. Laboratorio de Micronutrientes, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos (INTA), Universidad de Chile. Rev. chil. nutr. v.30 n. 3 Santiago dic. 2003. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-75182003000300002. Disponible online
Go to source
Scientific Article
Iron deficiency: causes, consequences and strategies to overcome this nutritional problem. José R Boccio, Venkatesh Iyengar. DOI: 10.1385 / BTER: 94: 1: 1. Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Iron deficiency anemia. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH). Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Iron deficiency anemia. Mayo Clinic. Disponible online
Go to source
Official website
Iron. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Disponible online
Go to source
Academic Article
Individualized treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults Michael Alleyne, McDonald K. Horne and Jeffery L. Miller. Disponible online
Go to source
Academic Article
Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury. Janelle L. Davis, Hunter L. Paris, Joseph W. Beals, Scott E. Binns, Gregory R. Giordano, Rebecca L. Scalzo, Melani M. Schweder, Emek Blair and Christopher Bell. Journal ListNutr Metab Insightsv.9; 2016PMC4915787. Disponible onlin
Go to source
Academic Article
Oxidative stability of emulsions fortified with iron: the role of liposomal phospholipids. Alime Cengiz, Talip Kahyaoglu, Karin Schröen, Claire Berton‐Carabin. J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Apr; 99(6): 2957–2965. Published online 2019 Jan 17. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9509. PMCID: PMC6590114. Disponible online
Go to source
Academic Article
El hierro en la alimentación Purificación Gómez-Álvarez Salinas. Licenciada en Farmacia. Vol. 18. Núm. 2. Páginas 54-57 (Febrero 2004). Disponible online
Go to source
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