Iron- human’s amalgamated element

Heme part in haemoglobin molecule

From Popeye’s favourite to child’s disgust we knew leafy greens and much more are copious in iron and other minerals, but do we know what is the exact role of this iron? Or how do they boon each and every function in our body? In this article we will see, what really it is? How they are absorbed? And where they are enormously present in our eco-system? Also, how much we have to consume?

Iron which is one of the 25 naturally occurring elements in our Environment. They comprise 32.09% on our Earth, yet their edible amount is inadequate as they exist in complex form that is why they are identified as one of the trance elements. And usage of iron in mankind is well marked in history, from the rise of Greek civilisation to fall of Roman civilisation the routine intake of iron was high, even Egyptians and Hindus used iron to treat deadly chlorosis as it was due to iron deficiency.

Here, a list of bio-chemical functions of iron in human system.

1. Transport of oxygen to the cells (haemoglobin and myoglobin)

2. Storage of oxygen within the cells

3. Boost immunity

4. Aids in cognitive ability

5. Synthesis of heme enzyme

6. Involves in electron transport within the system

7. Oxidation-reduction reactions

8. DNA synthesis

How iron is efficiently absorbed?

Once we consume food, the iron absorbed in the duodenum part of our digestive system by a specialised cell called enterocytes later, ferroprotein a complex protein act as bus and transports iron from these specialized cells to another vehicle transferrin where they act as large transporter like an aeroplane and direct them to tissues in require of iron. It is to be marked that excess iron is stored in ferritin and hemosiderin inside the liver and heart.

Did you know? serum ferritin is considered as major laboratory haematocrit to understand the spread of SARS-coV-2 and oxygen level in patients

Iron cycle in human system

Do you wonder what happens when we over consume iron food?

Well, no need to worry cause hepcidin got your back😉, it is protein present in our liver which controls the uptake of iron in enterocytes and prevents the over dump and maintain iron-homeostasis in our body.


Meat, poultry, and fish, cereals, pulses, legumes, fruits, and green leafy vegetables are rich in both heme and non-heme iron resources. Apart from those recent studies, proven that sea weed (sea alga) provides an incredible source of iron and other minerals which act as great subsidy to meat and fish. Habitually we know our elders don’t encourage to consume spinach with diary product like curd/yogurt but we lack to acknowledge the reason that is calcium present in dairy product act antagonistic with iron and becomes toxic to system whereas, Indian gooseberry and other citric veggies are advised to take part with iron in diet as they induce the absorption in enterocytes.

Level of consumption

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for pregnant and menstruating women is more than 16mg/day, and adults should consume 12–18mg/day, by minding this amount conditions like anaemia and hemochromatosis(iron overload) can be prevented.




Biochemistry undergrad who is fond of science

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Aishwarya Parasuraman

Aishwarya Parasuraman

Biochemistry undergrad who is fond of science

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