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MESO : The first Croatian meat journal, Vol.XIV No.3 June 2012. -


Iron is the most common transitional metal on Earth and it is essential for many life forms. On the other hand, iron and its compounds

are present as atmospheric pollution, which can cause harmful effects in humans, animals and materials. Living organisms have been

forced to adopt an efficient system for iron transport and a mechanism for its storage in order to maintain the balance between the

harmful and beneficial effects of iron. The distribution of iron in the human body is regulated by a complex mechanism that maintains

homeostasis. During childhood, pregnancy or blood loss, the need for iron increases, as does its adsorption. Iron is absorbed throughout

the entire digestive system and is best assimilated from heme 80% soluble iron in meat and physiologically binds with specific

proteins, forming reversible compounds of iron and protein, i.e. protein complexes. Iron participates in various metabolic processes in

the body, including oxygen transport, DNA synthesis and electron transport. Iron metabolic disorders are among the most common

illnesses in people, and include a broad spectrum of diseases with various clinical manifestations, from anaemia to neurodegenerative

diseases. Acute iron poisoning is almost always the result of ingestion of iron enriched medicines, and occurs most commonly in

children. Chronic iron poisoning is a more frequent problem among adults. Iron is a catalyser in the reaction that creates hydroxyl

radicals from hydrogen peroxide and increases oxidation stress, which ultimately increases the concentration of free iron. This process

can lead to damage to the lipid membranes and ultimately to the liver, kidney and spleen. Iron deficiency in the diet increases

the mechanism of intestinal iron absorption from the body’s stores, and reserves are spent faster than iron is absorbed from food,

which can lead to its deficiency in the body. Iron deficiency is still an endemic issue in certain areas around the world. Contemporary

procedures to enrich food with iron today also consider the potential risk of interaction between micronutrients that can influence

the absorption and bioavailability of iron.

iron; toxicokinetics of iron; diet

Autor: Maja Đokić, dipl. ing. kem. tehnol. - ; Laboratory for residue determination, Department for Veterinary Public Health, Croatian



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