Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body also needs iron to make some hormones.
The roles of iron in the human body are below.
- Iron is critical for motor and cognitive development. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the consequences of iron deficiency.
- Iron is a leading cause of anemia which is defined as low hemoglobin concentration. Anemia affects 43% of children younger than 5 years of age and 38% of pregnant women globally.
- Anemia during pregnancy increases the risk of death for the mother and low birth weight for the infant. Worldwide, maternal and neonatal deaths total between 2.5 million and 3.4 million each year.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends iron and folic acid supplements for reducing anemia and improving iron status among women of reproductive age.
- Fortifying flour with iron and folic acid is globally recognized as an effective, low-cost intervention.
some iron-rich foods.