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The role of iron in our bodies is a complex one. Iron is an essential element for blood production and supports many other bodily functions. We need to ensure we maintain optimum iron levels to function at our best.
As our bodies do not produce iron, we need to make sure we include sufficient iron as part of our healthy diets. Some peoples’ lifestyles can mean that they struggle to get the iron they need from their diet alone. Taking an iron supplement can help top up your iron levels.
- Iron helps form and oxygenate our blood cells and haemoglobin
One of the most important functions of iron is in heme synthesis, which forms haemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. Haemoglobin’s primary role is to transport oxygen from the lungs to body tissues to maintain basic life functions. Without healthy red blood cells, your body can't get enough oxygen, and this can result in you feeling increasingly tired or exhausted.
- Iron helps convert food to energy
Iron plays a vital role in the process by which cells make energy. Human cells require iron in order to convert energy from food into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and this is the body’s primary energy source. Low iron means less ATP can be produced and this is often why people feel tired and fatigued.
- Iron helps maintain a normal immune system
Iron is necessary for immune cell creation and growth, which help to keep us healthy. Lower iron levels may contribute to an increased risk of our immune systems being compromised and our bodies falling sick.
- Iron contributes to normal cognitive function
Cognitive function includes brain functions such as memory, concentration, learning and problem solving. Maintaining good iron levels help us to ensure our brain is performing at its best without having to rely on that shot of caffeine in the morning!
If you are at all concerned, please do contact your healthcare professional.