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Do iron levels impact immune function?

Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) can have detrimental effects on the immune system, leading to compromised immune function and increased susceptibility to infections.

How does iron impact immune function?

Iron is essential for the proper functioning of immune cells, including lymphocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils, which play crucial roles in immune defense. Iron deficiency can impair the development and maturation of these immune cells, leading to weakened immune responses.

Moreover, iron is involved in the production of antibodies, cytokines, and other immune-related molecules, which are essential for an effective immune response. Insufficient iron levels can disrupt the balance of these immune mediators, affecting immune signaling and response pathways.

Consequently, individuals with iron deficiency anemia may experience an increased risk of infections and reduced ability to combat pathogens. To support immune function and prevent iron deficiency anemia, it is important to ensure an adequate intake of dietary iron through iron-rich foods or supplementation, particularly in children who are more vulnerable to iron deficiency and its impact on immune health.


  1. Hassan, T. H., Badr, M. A., Karam, N. A., Zkaria, M., El Saadany, H. F., Abdel Rahman, D. M., Shahbah, D. A., Al Morshedy, S. M., Fathy, M., Esh, A. M. H., & Selim, A. M. (2016). Impact of iron deficiency anemia on the function of the immune system in children. Medicine, 95(47), e5395.

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