Ironing Out the IRON Problem
(Dr Saadia Anjum. 12th February 2013)
Why is IRON important? o Iron is extremely important in proliferating cells for the synthesis of mitochondrial proteins involved in electron transfer o The synthesis of hemoglobin in the bone marrow requires about 20–25 mg of iron each day The ironies of iron o Although iron is one of the most plentiful minerals in the earth's crust, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional problems in both the o Need tends to be the inverse of intake. The physiologic demand for iron is markedly lower in men than in children and in women, yet iron intake is considerably higher in men than in children or women o The amount of iron consumed is many times greater than the amount absorbed. Although the diet usually contains 10 mg, only a small portion of absorbed. dietary iron is absorbed. o Excess iron is deleterious, yet excretion is severely limited (not readily excreted through usual excretory routes of urine, bile, and sweat; rather through shedding of cells from the skin or GI tract or through blood loss) o It is an inexpensive metal but is a critical component of one of the world's most costly liquids—blood liquids—blood o The initial symptoms of iron deficiency and iron overload are the same Iron is problematic…. Once iron enters body there is no way U can get rid of it The iron cycle is very effective o Approximately 25 mg of iron circulates each day only 1 mg is lost o This is made up from that taken up from the dietary iron in the intestine o Loss is somewhat higher in premenopausal women so that intake must be correspondingly higher. Total body iron content o 2 gm for women o 6 gm for men Iron is transported in the plasma by an iron-binding protein called transferrin. o In normal persons, transferrin is about 33% saturated with iron, yielding serum iron levels that average 120 μg/dL in men and 100 μg/dL in women Uptake of the iron-containing protein, • Transferrin circulates in the blood o It binds to its receptor to form a complex that enters the cell via endocytosis. o The iron is then released from the endosome for use in the cell (e.g.
haemoglobin formation for erythrocyte production or cytochrome production in proliferating cells).