Perhaps the most well known of the minerals in the body is iron. Iron proteins are found in all living organisms and the colour of our blood is due to hemoglobin, an iron containing protein.

The average adult needs around 20mg of iron daily and it is mainly used for the production of red blood cells. The average adult has around 5g of iron in their body, around 2.5g of this is in haemoglobin in the blood. Unwanted iron is stored in the liver1.

Good sources of iron in the diet are meat, poultry, eggs and wholegrain breads and cereals.

A lack of iron in the body (which can be caused through a variety of conditions, for example, bleeding, substances in the diet interfering with iron absorption, a deficiency in the diet) can lead to anemia – which can have symptoms as wide ranging as lethargy to sleeplessness. It is easily cured in the developed world by iron tablets supplementing the diet.

You may have carried out the famous IB redox lab – determining the amount of iron in an iron tablet which takes advantage of the redox reaction between Fe2+ and MnO4.

1 Article from, accessed on 25th May, 2011.