MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Iron Excess

By

Larry E. Johnson

, MD, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Iron excess occurs when the body has too much of the mineral iron.

Much of the iron in the body is contained in hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the component of red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen and deliver it to the body’s tissues. Iron is also an important component of muscle cells and is necessary for the formation of many enzymes in the body. (See also Overview of Minerals Overview of Minerals Minerals are necessary for the normal functioning of the body’s cells. The body needs relatively large quantities of Calcium Chloride Magnesium Phosphate read more .)

Food contains two types of iron:

  • Heme iron: Animal products contain heme iron. It is absorbed much better than nonheme iron.

  • Nonheme iron: Most foods and iron supplements contain nonheme iron. It accounts for more than 85% of iron in the average diet. However, less than 20% of nonheme iron that is consumed is absorbed into the body. Nonheme iron is absorbed better when it is consumed with animal protein and with vitamin C.

Excess iron can accumulate in the body. Causes include the following:

Excess iron consumed all at once causes vomiting, diarrhea, and damage to the intestine and other organs. Excess iron consumed over a period of time may damage the heart and the liver.

Often, deferoxamine is given intravenously. This drug binds with iron and carries it out of the body in urine. Hemochromatosis is treated with bloodletting (phlebotomy).

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)
Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine), an essential vitamin, is needed to process (metabolize) carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats; facilitate healthy nerve function; form red blood cells; and maintain skin health. Vitamin B6 is in many foods. Which of the following is NOT a good source of vitamin B6?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP