Iron is the most abundant mineral found naturally in the earth's soil and crust.
It is referred to as Fe, its chemical element abbreviation, as well as 26, its atomic number.
In its natural state, it has a soft, gray appearance. It first became known to mankind as soon as 3500 B.C.
As a dietary component, it plays a significant role in blood circulation, brain development, and metabolic rates. It is most often found in foods like red meat, legumes, peanut butter, whole grain cereals and breads, and eggs. It also is added to many infant formulas to ensure babies' brain development. Healthy people should consume at least 15 mg of iron per day in their diets.
Someone who is deficient in iron may be at risk of suffering from anemia, a serious health condition.
Anemia presents itself with a number of different symptoms.
People who are anemic may feel overly fatigued and have sores inside their mouths and on their tongues.
They also may have brittle hair and fingernails and have a yellowish tinge to their skin and the whites of their eyes. Anemia is easy to diagnose and treat. Doctors often use blood tests to determine whether or not a patient has enough iron in his or her blood.
Consuming too much iron likewise can present a host of health complications.
A hereditary condition called hemochromatosis causes afflicted individuals to be unable to digest and process iron through their bodies normally.
Other people can consume too much iron by taking too many vitamin supplements or by breathing in iron-filled dust while working in mines. Iron toxicity presents itself through bloody diarrhea and vomiting. This toxicity can be treated with blood transfusions and injections of deferoxamine.