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Rocaltrol (Calcitriol)

The total content of iron in the adult body is only 3 to 5 gm. Most of this iron is present in hemoglobin, a protein that consists of an iron-containing compound, heme, attached to a protein, globin. Hemoglobin is carried in the circulation in the red blood cells. It picks up oxygen in the lungs and transports the oxygen to the tissues so that oxidation reactions can take place in the cells. From the cells the hemoglobin carries carbon dioxide to the lungs to be exhaled.
Myoglobin is an iron-containing protein similar to hemoglobin and is present in muscle tissue. Iron is also a constituent of many enzymes that are required for the use of glucose and fatty acids for energy.
Iron salts are relatively insoluble, and the proportion absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract is small and varies widely. The amount absorbed depends upon the body’s need for iron. The well-nourished adult absorbs only 5 to 10 per cent of the iron in his diet, but somewhat larger percentages are absorbed by children during periods of rapid growth, by pregnant women, and by people who have anemia.
Iron salts are more soluble in acid, so most of the absorption takes place from the upper part of the small intestine. The amount of iron absorbed depends also upon the food source. In general, heme iron (that is, iron occurring in meats) is much more efficiently absorbed than is non-heme iron (from plant foods.) Vitamin С improves the absorption of iron, as do also the organic acids present in some fruits. The iron in plant foods is somewhat less absorbed than that in animal foods. Antacid medications interfere with the absorption of iron.
Iron is used very economically by the body. When the red blood cells are destroyed after their normal life-span of about 120 days, the hemoglobin is broken down. The iron that is released is used over and over again.
Small amounts of iron are lost daily in perspiration, in the sloughing of cells from the skin and mucosal membranes, in hair and nail clippings, and through excretion in the urine. These losses account for 0.5 to 1 mg iron per day. Menstrual losses are about 15 to 30 mg per month, or an average of 0.5 to 1 mg per day.
Daily allowances
The allowance for the well-nourished woman is 18 mg iron per day, whereas that for the healthy man is 10 mg. Infants and children need liberal intakes of iron to take care of the expanding blood circulation as they grow.

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