Iron deficiency and intake during pregnancy

Iron deficiency and intake during pregnancy

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Gynecology and Obstetrics Specialist Op. Dr. Alper Mumcu Uzman Expert of the Month ” section informs you about the use of iron in pregnancy.

Among the iron nutrients, it is perhaps the most researched and the best known effects. It plays a key role in the survival of almost all living organisms on Earth. It is essential for hundreds of proteins and enzymes in humans.

Oxygen transport and storage: Many biologically important molecules contain an iron-containing substance called heme (hem). Hemoglobin and myoglobin are examples of such substances and are involved in the transport and storage of oxygen. Hemoglobin is located in the structure of red blood cells (red blood cells, erythrocytes) and contains about two-thirds of the iron in the body. The task of hemoglobin is to transport oxygen from the lungs to other tissues. Myoglobin provides short-term oxygen storage in the muscles.

On the other hand, substances called cytochrome, which are involved in energy production at the cellular level, are essential for the survival of life. Cytochromes are also heme, iron-containing substances. Therefore, iron plays an important role in energy production and storage.

Another function of iron in the body is antioxidation. In other words, it is possible to convert harmful or toxic substances into harmless form with the help of iron.

DNA synthesis is also an iron-dependent event. Therefore, iron has a key function in many events such as growth, reproduction, wound healing and immunity.

Iron and its relationship with other minerals and vitamins

Vitamin A: Vitamin A deficiency is known to increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia (anemia). Vitamin A supplementation facilitates the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in children and pregnant women.

Virgin: Adequate amount of copper is required for normal iron metabolism and erythrocyte production. One of the important clinical findings of copper deficiency is anemia. In animal experiments, copper was found to be involved in iron absorption. Iron was also found in the liver of copper deficient animals. According to this finding, copper may be involved in the transfer of iron to bone marrow.

iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is the most common malnutrition in the world. Iron deficiency can be in 3 different ways.

1- Emptying iron tanks

2- Early functional iron deficiency: Functional iron decreased and production of red blood cells decreased, but no clinical anemia was present.

3- Iron deficiency anemia: There is not enough iron to produce red cells. Red spheres are smaller than they should be and hemoglobin contents are reduced. Anemia related to fatigue, fatigue, fatigue, palpitations, wounds difficult to heal, wounds on lip edges, difficulty in swallowing and cold intolerance occur in patients.

Who is at high risk?

• Newborns and children aged 6 months to 4 years: The iron stores of a baby born in time can manage it for up to 6 months, but then anemia can occur if it does not get enough iron.

• Adolescence: In this period of rapid growth, the loss of blood associated with menstrual bleeding carries a risk for iron deficiency anemia.

• Pregnancy: Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy due to both infant and placenta as well as increased blood volume.

• Chronic blood loss:

• Vegetarian nutrition:The absorption of iron in animal foods is much more effective and easier.

What is the daily requirement?
The amount of iron needed by the age groups was re-determined in 2001.

AgeMale (mg / day)Women (mg / day)
0-6 months0.270.27
7-12 months1111
1-3 years77
4-8 years1010
9-13 years88
14-18 years1115
19-50 years818
51 years and older88
pregnant women-27
Lactants (under 18 years)-10
Nursing (over 18 years)-9

What are the effects of iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency causes a decrease in hemoglobin concentration in the blood and a decrease in the blood's ability to carry oxygen, causing complaints such as weakness, fatigue, and decrease in work capacity.

Many studies have shown that in the presence of severe anemia during pregnancy, some complications are more common. The most important of these are low birth weight and preterm birth. Even very severe anemia can cause maternal deaths. Therefore, one of the most important goals of pregnancy follow-ups and doctor checks during pregnancy is to prevent anemia in the expectant mother.

Iron is also an important mineral for the healthy and effective functioning of the immune system.

What are iron sources?

Nutrients: The absorption of iron in foods or vitamin drugs is closely related to the individual's need for iron and whether the iron is in “heme” form. The absorption of iron in heme form is much easier and more effective than non-heme iron. The absorption mechanisms of these two iron forms from the digestive system are different. On the other hand, in people who are anemic or lacking in iron stores, dietary iron is absorbed to a greater extent.

Iron in heme form: Iron in heme form is mostly taken from substances containing hemoglobin and myoglobin. These are animal foods such as meat, fish and poultry. Although iron in heme form accounts for 10-15% of iron taken by diet, it is about one third of the daily absorbed iron. Although the absorption of iron that is not in heme form is affected by many factors, the absorption of heme iron is not much affected.

Iron not in heme form: Some plant foods, milk and dairy products and meat are non-heme iron sources. When taken at the same meal, many substances affect the absorption of non-heme iron. For example, vitamin C decreases ferric iron to ferrous iron and increases its absorption. Similarly, organic acids such as citric acid, malic, tartaric and lactic acid increase iron absorption.

Phytic acid in rice and legumes, on the other hand, reduces iron absorption by 50%, even in very small amounts. Only 2% of the iron found in some nutrients such as soybeans and lentils can be absorbed by the body.

Polyphenols in beverages such as some vegetables, fruits and coffee and tea also adversely affect the absorption of non-heme iron.

The amount of iron contained in some nutrients is as follows.

MatterPortionIron content (mg) *
Steak100 grams2.31
Chicken100 grams1.13
Oyster6 pieces5.04
Shrimp8 pieces1.36
Tuna80 grams of canned food1.30
Spinach1/2 cup, cooked3.20
Dried plum5 pieces1.06
Potatoes1 medium2.75
Haricot bean1/2 cup, cooked2.60
Lentil1/2 cup, cooked3.30

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