Why is Iron Important?
Iron plays a vital role in energy production within our bodies. Iron helps transport oxygen from the lungs throughout the rest of the body. Iron is also a part of many enzymes in the body including those that provide antioxidant protection.1
What is Iron Deficiency
Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world.1,4 Symptoms of low iron levels can include tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, and headaches.1,2 Iron deficiency can also lead to anemia, a condition marked by too few or abnormal red blood cells.2 Impaired cognitive development in children and poor pregnancy outcomes are some of the conditions that have been associated with iron deficiency.1,2
Vitamin C and Citric Acid Aid in Iron Absorption
Ensure optimal iron intake by eating foods that are high in iron, such as animal proteins, lentils, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables. The iron from plant-based foods is not as well absorbed in the body as iron from animal proteins. When consuming iron-rich plants, it is beneficial to also consume foods with vitamin C or citric acid, such as 100% orange juice, which may help increase absorption of iron into your body.1-3
100% orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 90-140% of the recommended daily value in an 8-ounce glass.* Orange and other citrus juices are reported to be the largest contributors of vitamin C in the diet.5 Citric acid also occurs naturally in orange juice and contributes to its sweet-tangy taste.
Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Simply drinking 100% orange juice along with consuming iron-rich foods may help enhance your body’s absorption of iron.
Detailed Nutritional Information
Iron is involved in energy production and oxygen transport as it is part of the electron transport chain, hemoglobin in the blood, and myoglobin in the muscles.1,2 Iron is also part of many enzymes including glutathione peroxidase and catalase1 that behave as antioxidants in the body. Symptoms of low iron status include tiredness, shortness of breath, and headaches, and severe iron deficiency can lead to anemia and complications with pregnancy.1,2 In infants and young children, iron deficiency is associated with impaired cognitive development and behavior, decreased infection resistance, and temperature dysregulation.1
Vitamin C and citric acid and other organic compounds found in citrus may enhance the absorption of plant-based iron.1-3
*Values based on a 2000 calorie diet. FDA rounding rules applied when calculating percent DV based upon 2018 rules. Information is not intended for labeling food in packaged form. USDA SR28 database entries for 90206 and 09209 were used for calculating RDI.
- McDermid and Lonnerdal, Iron. Adv Nutr 2012; 3:532-533.
- Iron,In: Dietary Reference Intakes. Institute of Medicine. The National Academies Press,Washington, DC. 2001.
- Iron. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iron.
- World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/ida/en/. Accessed April 20, 2018.
- Chun Oet al.J Nutr 2010;140:317-324.