Iron in your body

Iron is important in cellular metabolism and oxidation, the body needs only trace amounts of two
types of iron:

• Functional iron, a component of hemoglobin and myoglobin (a pigment in muscles);
   approximately 70% of body iron

• Iron stored in the forms of ferritin and hemosiderin

Iron that is not part of hemoglobin is bound to the blood protein transferrin, which transports it to storage tissues (liver, bone marrow, and spleen). In storage tissues, iron binds to another protein to form ferritin. Normally about 35% of the circulating transferrin is saturated with iron. The degree to which transferrin is saturated with iron indicates the iron supply for developing RBCs.

To keep hemoglobin and other functional iron levels constant, the body draws iron from storage. Because it is readily mobilized when iron is lost (through hemorrhage) or inadequate (poor diet), ferritin is depleted early in iron deficiency. Accurate ferritin measurement often reveals iron-deficient anemia before other laboratory values change.

Iron in hemoglobin

Iron in hemoglobin

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