A basic element essential for most life. It is absorbed from the gut through multiple metabolic steps and moved to the blood plasma. It is then carried by the glycoprotein transferrin to cells though out the body.
Iron is necessary for the production of energy that makes the cells work. In the red blood cells it is necessary to assist with transportation of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
It is stored in the cells in the protein ferritin.
Too little iron results in metabolic problems such as iron deficiency anemia. Too much iron results in crystallization of iron molecules into hemosiderin that damages cells causing particular problems in the heart and liver.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is thought in many cases to be the result of intracellular iron deficiency in certain cells in the central nervous system. Such cases are usually associated with evidence of low iron storage (reduced or low normal ferritin levels).« Back to Glossary Index