Haemoglobin and Functions of Iron in Our Body

Haemoglobin and Functions of Iron in Our Body
December 22, 2022 0 Comments

In the body, iron is involved in several vital processes. It plays a major role in transferring oxygen from the lungs to tissues. However, because it is a part of several proteins and enzymes, iron also contributes to metabolism.

In its free form, iron is harmful to the body. It interacts with proteins by attaching to ligands or forming a porphyrin group, a ring-shaped molecule. Heme is a compound made up of protoporphyrin IX and the ferrous form of iron. Myoglobin and haemoglobin are two proteins involved in oxygen transport that contain heme iron. Non-heme iron is present in iron storage proteins like transferrin, ferritin, and oxidative phosphorylation.

For the creation of blood, iron is crucial. Haemoglobin, a component of your blood’s red blood cells, and myoglobin, a component of your muscles, both contain around 70% of the iron in your body. Your blood’s haemoglobin helps carry oxygen from your lungs to your tissues. In muscle cells, myoglobin receives transports, stores, and releases oxygen.

Haemoglobin and Myoglobin

Haemoglobin and myoglobin contain around 70% of the body’s total iron content. The protein in red blood cells called haemoglobin is in charge of transporting oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Muscles include the protein myoglobin, which is utilised to store oxygen.

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All vertebrates and certain invertebrates have red blood cells containing haemoglobin, an oxygen delivery mechanism. Four globular protein subunits make up haemoglobin in humans. A heme group is bound by a pocket created by the four subunits. In the lungs, oxygen combines with the iron atom of the haemoglobin molecule to generate oxyhemoglobin. The lung alveoli’s capillaries experience this. Once within the cells, it is let loose there. CO2 attaches to the protein component of the haemoglobin molecule, not to the bound iron in the heme group, which is how haemoglobin transports CO2 back to the lungs to be expelled as waste.

Myoglobin also binds iron inside a heme group, as haemoglobin does. The structure, which consists of a single polypeptide chain of 154 amino acids, is significantly more straightforward. Only cardiac myocytes and oxidative skeletal muscle have it. Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen. When a marine mammal dives underwater for a long time, it supplies oxygen. Myoglobin releases oxygen at certain moments to keep the muscle’s aerobic metabolism going. High elevations have been proven to raise myoglobin levels in people.

About 6% of the body’s iron is found in proteins, which are necessary for respiration and energy metabolism, and in enzymes that produce collagen and certain neurotransmitters. Iron is also required for a healthy immune system operation. The body stores around 25% of its iron as ferritin, located in cells and travels through the blood. The typical adult male possesses 1,000 mg of stored iron, sufficient for around three years, compared to just 300 mg for women (enough for about six months). Chronically low iron consumption can cause reserves to run low and lower haemoglobin levels.

Iron depletion is the state that results from the use up of all available iron. Greater reductions result in iron-deficient erythropoiesis, and further reductions lead to anaemia from iron insufficiency.

The most frequent cause of iron deficiency is blood loss. Iron deficiency is nearly typically caused by gastrointestinal blood loss in males and postmenopausal women. Genitourinary blood loss frequently explains the increased need for iron in menstrual women. Contrary to intrauterine devices, which tend to increase menstrual bleeding, oral contraceptives tend to reduce menstrual blood loss. Other genitourinary and respiratory tract bleeding factors also increase the need for iron.

Each time a blood donor donates, 200 to 250 milligrammes of iron are lost. The amount of iron needed during growth spurts in infancy, youth, and adolescence may exceed the amount of iron available through diet and storage. An average of 740 mg of iron is lost during Pregnancy due to tissue expansion, labour, and postpartum haemorrhage. The extra iron needed per day when breastfeeding ranges from 0.5 to 1 mg.

Iron Requirements

Before each blood donation, your “iron level” is evaluated to see if it is safe for you to donate blood. Because the body cannot produce iron, it must be obtained through food. The minimum daily amount of iron for adults is 1.8 milligrammes. The body only absorbs and uses 10 to 30 per cent of the iron you ingest.

By taking iron supplements, one can get the recommended daily allowance of iron. by taking 325 milligrammes of ferrous sulphate orally once daily and by consuming meals high in iron. Because vitamin C aids in the body’s absorption of iron, foods high in this vitamin are also advised. When cooked in iron pots, up to 80% more iron may be added to food. Before using iron supplements, speak with your primary care physician.

Some foods rich in iron include:

Meat and Poultry

  • Lean beef
  • Veal
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Liver (except fish liver)


  • Fish
  • Mussels
  • Shellfish


  • Greens, all kinds
  • Tofu
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Peas
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Lima Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Beets
  • Cabbage

Our bodies require mineral iron for a variety of purposes. For instance, iron is a component of haemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen from our lungs to every cell in our body. It aids the oxygenation and storage of our muscles. Numerous additional proteins and enzymes include iron as well.

To the proper degree, your body needs iron. You might get iron deficiency anaemia if your iron intake is too low. Blood loss, a poor diet, or an inability to absorb enough iron from meals are all potential causes of low iron levels. Young children, pregnant women, and women who have periods are more likely than others to be anaemic (low in iron). Your body might become harmed by consuming too much iron. Iron poisoning can result from taking too many iron supplements. Hemochromatosis is a genetic condition that affects some people. It makes the body accumulate too much iron.

Iron Helps Form And Oxygenate Our Blood Cells And Hemoglobin

Iron plays a crucial role in synthesising heme, which produces the protein haemoglobin, which is present in red blood cells. The major purpose of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen from the lungs to body tissues to support essential bodily activities. Your body cannot receive enough oxygen if your red blood cells aren’t in good shape, which might leave you feeling worn out or weary.

Iron Helps Convert Food To Energy

In the mechanism through which cells produce energy, iron is essential. Human cells need iron to transform dietary energy into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the body’s main energy source. People frequently experience weariness and exhaustion because low iron limits ATP creation.

Iron Helps Convert Food To Energy

Iron Helps Maintain A Normal Immune System

Iron is required to develop and expand immune cells, which keep us healthy. Our immune systems may be impaired and more susceptible to illness if our iron levels are low.

Iron Contributes To Normal Cognitive Function

Brain activities, including memory, focus, learning, and problem-solving, are cognitive functions. Maintaining healthy iron levels guarantees our brain is functioning at its peak without relying on that morning coffee shot!

Iron-Dependent Enzymes

Iron is a cofactor needed by a vast number of enzymes to operate. Enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic process that turns food into energy, are among the most important. The cytochrome enzymes bind heme iron, and several protein complexes involved in oxidative phosphorylation include iron-sulfur centres essential to their operation.

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