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The Handy-Dandy, Exhaustive Guide To Vitamins & Minerals; Complete From Vitamin A to Zinc [Part 2]


What is Iron (Fe)

What is Iron, iron, iron food, iron in food, iron deficiency, iron nutrition, what does iron do,

Iron is primarily used to build hemoglobin and myoglobin; two proteins in red blood cells that store oxygen and deliver it to various tissues and muscles (respectively; myoglobin supplies O2 to muscles) throughout the body. 2/3 of the body’s entire iron supply is found in hemoglobin, while a smaller amount sits in the myoglobin.12

Other than important things like living and breathing, oxygen delivery is critical for endurance & athletic performance, efficient metabolism, sustainable energy levels, immunity, and cell growth.

We only absorb 10%-15% of ALL dietary iron, which is one of the major reasons why the World Health Organization (WHO) considers iron deficiency to be the #1 nutritional disorder worldwide, estimated at up to 80% of the population.3

Iron comes from food in two different forms: (1) heme, which is animal-based and the most easily absorbed form in the body (15%-35% is absorbed); and (2) nonheme, which is found in plants/cereal, but isn’t as easily absorbed (only 2%-20% is absorbed). For vegetarians especially, adding foods high in vitamin C can help boost nonheme iron’s rate of absorption.4

Because it’s a massive component of blood, women who menstruate need more than 2x as much iron as men & post-menopausal women.

  • Best Sources of Iron — Think MEAT, CEREAL & GREEN VEGGIES. Beef, liver, oysters, clams, pork, turkey, spirulina, sesame seeds, beans, potatoes, asparagus, spinach, and cereal are all iron-heavy.5
  • Recommended Daily Intake — Men = 8 mg/day; women = 18 mg/day.6
  • Iron Deficiency — Iron deficiency anemia, poor immunity, attention issues, irritability, and fatigue.


Calcium | Potassium | Iron | Zinc | Magnesium | Phosphorus | Sodium | The Rest


Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
  1. ODS – Iron []
  2. Medline – Iron []
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  5. NutritionData – Iron []
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