Suppression

Iron

Category: Natural chemicals

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) . It is a metal and by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. According to Wikipedia “Fresh iron surfaces appear lustrous silvery-gray, but oxidize in normal air to give hydrated iron oxides, commonly known as rust”. My brother used to tell me that is why he went brown on holiday even in the rain – he was an ironman.

Iron is not one of the key minerals used by the nervous system, but it still has an important part to play in our bodies. It forms “complexes with molecular oxygen in hemoglobin and myoglobin; which are oxygen transport proteins”. Iron is also “used at the active site of many important redox enzymes dealing with cellular respiration and oxidation and reduction in plants and animals”.

The most commonly known compounds of iron are the heme proteins: examples are hemoglobin, myoglobin, and cytochrome P450. The colour of blood is due to the hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein. These compounds can transport gases, build enzymes, and be used in transferring electrons. Metalloproteins are a group of proteins with metal ion cofactors. Some examples of iron metalloproteins are ferritin and rubredoxin. Many enzymes vital to life contain iron, such as catalase, lipoxygenases, and IRE-BP.

After uptake, in cells, iron storage is carefully regulated; "free" iron ions do not exist as such. A major component of this regulation is the protein transferrin, which binds iron ions absorbed from the duodenum and carries it in the blood to cells.

Illnesses and diseases

There is a commonly held view that somehow or other we suffer from a lack of iron. If we are tired or weak or weary, the assumption is that it is iron that is the problem, but it rarely is.

Iron uptake is tightly regulated by the human body, which has no regulated physiological means of excreting iron. Only small amounts of iron are lost daily due to mucosal and skin epithelial cell sloughing, so control of iron levels is mostly by regulating uptake. It is thus very difficult to suffer from iron deficiency. The biggest problems in the western world appears to be iron overload

More details of the illnesses and diseases can be found in the section Iron imbalance.

Foods containing iron 

Iron is pervasive, but particularly rich sources of dietary iron according to the USDA Nutrients database include

You will notice that there are no grains in this list, but there appears to be support for the theory that malted sprouted grains contain more minerals and vitamins than just grains, as such drinks containing malted products [ovaltine, beer, whisky etc] may also be a source of iron.  It is noticeable that home brewed beer in Africa is a very rich source of iron

 

Germination of cereal grains as a way to improve the nutritional value: a review  Hübner F, Arendt EK. Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork, Ireland.
Whole grain cereals have been found to be a good source of nutritionally valuable substances, such as antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. A wide range of these compounds is affected by germination. While some compounds, such as beta-glucans are degraded, others, like vitamins can be increased by means of malting. Therefore, germination and malting of cereals is a way not only to produce fermentable extract for the brewing and distilling industries, but can also be a way to produce ingredients enriched with health promoting compounds. Malt extracts have also been shown to be good substrates for the growth and application of probiotic bacteria.
PMID: 23768147

 

Related observations