Optimal - The Blog

July 30, 2022

Iron: It's Your Friend Until It Isn't

The case for iron seems iron-clad though it involves serious issues if insufficiency or excess occurs. Iron is an essential mineral needed in fairly small amounts in the body. It is involved in many functions though it is most recognized as an oxygen-binding molecule found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells.

Iron-deficiency anemia is associated with small, pale red blood cells, decreased oxygen delivery to cells, fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness. Insufficiency of iron may be caused by inadequate intake, impaired absorption, increased requirements, or blood loss.

However, excess iron is dangerous and may be associated with iron overload, hemochromatosis, hemosiderosis, lead toxicity, blood transfusions, oxidative stress, and hepatic inflammation or damage. Excess iron can be deposited throughout the body, which can cause organ dysfunction and disease.

Iron is also important to neurotransmitter metabolism, and insufficiency or excess can disrupt brain function and behavior. Certain medications may alter serum iron and should also be taken into account when assessing iron status. Drugs that decrease serum iron include testosterone, ACTH, methicillin, and cholestyramine. Drugs that increase serum iron include estrogen, oral contraceptives, and alcohol.

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CLICK HERE to learn more about Serum iron, health consequences, optimal ranges, etc.

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Tag(s): Biomarkers

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