In group 8 and period 4 of the periodic table lies a chemical element by the name iron with 24 as its atomic number and Fe as its chemical symbol. It is classified under first transition series metals and is silvery in color with an atomic mass of 55.847.iron is mainly found on the earth’s crust within the outer and inner core with more deposits on the inner core. Iron is found in a solid state due to its high melting point of 1535.1ºc and boiling point of 2750ºc. If left in the presence of oxygen, iron reacts to form iron oxide commonly referred to as rust.
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Iron is a fundamental element in human life found in red blood cells. Iron helps in transportation of oxygen to the various cells in the body alongside production of adenosine triphosphate which is the source of energy in the human body. It also helps to maintain body weight and shape through burning of fat and calories. Iron among other enzymes help the body deal with body reactions and digestion of food. It also provides the human body with a healthy immune system. When iron is taken into our bodies the majority is utilized in the bone marrow and the rest stored in cells of mononuclear phagocyte. Iron can be classified as either monatomic which is an ion made up of only one element or polyatomic made up of several elements. Iron is available in different forms mainly the ferrous sulphate which is widespread. It is also available in ferrous glycine, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous glutamate among others. Iron supplements can be quantified for consumption in terms of milligram’s as prescribed by a physician according to age and level of iron needed.
Iron can be obtained from various types of foods most of which are animal products. There non animal products that contain iron and are referred to non-heme sources and these contain little amounts of iron. Heme sources or animal sources of iron include liver, fish, kidney, lean beef, and turkey among others. These are the main sources and contain very high amounts of iron. Non- heme sources include oat, wheat, hazelnuts, beans, rice, and pasta. These foods are of great significance to breast feeding babies and toddlers because of they consume foods that are low on iron or lack iron completely. Precaution should be taken in instances of pregnant women who should avoid liver consumption which results in high amounts of vitamin A that is detrimental to the unborn baby.
Deficiency of iron in the body in most cases results in anemia. It also causes fatigue, tiredness, and decreased levels of body immunity and short of breath. The conditions brought about by iron deficiency can only be determined by a doctor and prescription be given. Low iron levels in the body may also bring about intestinal diseases and bleeding problems. This effect can only be rectified through prescription by a medical practitioner who would advise you on the proper dosage and diets to take. Eating a balanced diet is one way of combating iron deficiency in the body. Iron supplements can also be used but one should be directed by a doctor on the type and amounts to take. Contrary, excessive amounts of iron in the body is dreadful and increases possibility of diabetes, stomach ulcers and giving birth of premature infants in women.
In a nutshell iron forms an essential component of the human body. Maintaining the required levels of iron in the body results in a healthy life of which everyone yearns for. In cases of iron deficiency it is important to visit a doctor to get the proper prescription.