Iron is a transition metal with atomic number 26 and an atomic weight of 55.847 g/mol. It exists in two main oxidation states: ferric (Fe (III) or Fe3+) and ferrous (Fe (II) or Fe2+) forms.
In the normal diet iron may be found in meat, eggs, cereals, and some fruits and vegetables.
Generally iron in food is in the ferric (Fe3+) form but the body absorbs elemental iron in the ferrous (Fe2+) form. Reduction from ferric to ferrous forms is assisted to a great extent by gastric juice, which puts the iron into solution and allows it to complex with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and other substances that reduce the iron. This is reflected in the iron deficient state that results following a removal of part or all of the stomach, without adequate iron replacement therapy.
Iron is of central importance as a key constituent of:
- cytochromes in the electron transport chain
Primarily results in iron-deficiency anemia.
Iron-containing fumes have been implicated as a precipitant in metal fume fever, although this is contentious 3.
- 1. Kim E. Barrett, Susan M. Barman, Scott Boitano, Heddwen Brooks. Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology 25th Edition. (2015) ISBN: 9780071848978
- 2. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9781416023647
- 3. Greenberg MI, Vearrier D. Metal fume fever and polymer fume fever. (2015) Clinical toxicology (Philadelphia, Pa.). 53 (4): 195-203. doi:10.3109/15563650.2015.1013548 - Pubmed
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