Iron is an essential mineral. All human cells contain some iron, but around 70% of it occurs in red blood cells. Iron plays a key role in producing hemoglobin. This is a complex protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
People suffering from iron deficiency are advised to take iron supplements. According to a study, a high intake of iron can also be bad. High iron levels have been associated with a higher risk of bacterial skin infections, such as cellulitis (a bacterial infection that affects the inner layers of the skin) and abscesses.
Previous research has shown that iron is an important nutrient for the survival and growth of bacteria, but this global study is the first to use large-scale population data to further investigate the link between high iron levels and bacterial skin infections.
Co-lead author Dipender Gill, from Imperial College London, adds that this global study was able to “rapidly and efficiently determine the effect of genetically raised iron status on hundreds of clinically relevant outcomes using data that has already been captured.”
The study confirmed iron’s ability to protect against anemia, and it showed that this mineral may also reduce the risk of high cholesterol. However, it also revealed that high iron levels can cause skin infections.