Iron is crucial to good health and well-being. Iron is a trace mineral that can be found in two forms within the body, ferrous iron and ferric iron. The majority of iron in the body is located in the hemoglobin. Iron is responsible for the production and function of hemoglobin, which carries much of the body's oxygen. A large amount of iron is also located in the myoglobin of muscle cells where it is needed for the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Iron is necessary for many other transports throughout the body, such as electrons. Iron is involved in the respiration process, the creation of energy, and the synthesis of many neurotransmitters.
Iron has a negative interactions with several different drugs. Iron should not be combined with bisphosphonate, fluoroquinolone, levodopa, levothyroxine, methyldopa, mycophenolate mofetil, penicillamine, or tetracycline drugs due to a decreased absorption rate and a reduced effectiveness of the drugs. For those taking iron supplementation for iron deficiency anemia, it is not recommended that chloramphenicol be used as the drug will hinder the effectiveness of the supplement. As with all drugs and supplements, consult a health care professional before use. Iron also interacts with other dietary supplements such as acacia, calcium, soy, and zinc in a negative way as the absorption and effectiveness of the supplements are decreased. Vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and riboflavin combine positively with iron to help increase the absorption and response by the body.
Iron most commonly causes gastrointestinal side effects, including abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and bloating. If the recommended dosages are followed, adverse effects were uncommon. However, if high dosages can instigate hemosiderosis then cardiovascular or metabolic toxicity. It is recommended that iron supplements be taken with food, at the recommended dosage, as this appears to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects.