• Question: If you eat to much of iron would your lungs go bad?

    Asked by natrualme to Jemma, John, Lisa, Sam on 31 May 2012.
    • Photo: Lisa Fitzgerald

      Lisa Fitzgerald answered on 31 May 2012:


      Hi @naturalme,

      Iron is an important substance which we need in our diet to keep us healthy. It is the basis for haemoglobin which is the substance in red blood cells which transports oxygen around the body. As with most things however if you take too much it can be very bad for you. A significant excess of iron would have multiple side effects including a build up of fluid in the lungs which will stop them working properly and reduce the oxygen your body is able to take in. This would make you feel very short of breath and very tired and can ultimately lead to death in other body tissues due to lack of oxygen.

      Thanks

      Lisa

    • Photo: Jemma Ransom

      Jemma Ransom answered on 31 May 2012:


      Hi @naturalme

      Your body is very very good at making sure you don’t have too much, or too little, of any of the necessary nutrients. It is more likely that you would be deficient in iron eating a western diet than have too much. iron is the main component of something called haemoglobin (which makes your blood red). Have you ever accidently bitten your tongue? Notice that it tastes of metal? It’s the iron in blood that gives it that metallic taste. The main function of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen. If you don’t have enough iron therefore you can’t feed the tissues of your body with oxygen as it won’t be carried in the blood. There are some diseases that result from not being able to get rid of iron, but these are very rare.

      Another interesting fact about haemoglobin (feel free not to read on if you’re bored already!) It is only red when oxygen is bound to it. As blood travels around your body, it offloads its oxygen to tissues that need it, and turns blue (this blue stuff is called de-oxy-haemoglobin – meaning no oxygen). Notice that the veins on the back of your hand are blue? This is because the blood is de-oxygenated and is on it’s way back to your lungs.

      Hope this helps
      Jemma

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