Iron

J R Hunt, USDA-ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND, USA

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Iron, the Earth's most abundant metal and fourth most common element, is also the essential nutrient that is most commonly deficient in human diets. At the beginning of the 21st century, the World Health Organization recognizes iron deficiency as one of the 10 greatest global health risks, ranked according to the number of lost healthy life years. Iron deficiency impairs reproductive performance, cognitive development, and work capacity. Effectively resolving this problem with preventative nutritional strategies remains an unmet challenge.

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