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Why does the human body need iron?

  1. Mar 9, 2007 #1
    As far as I know Iron is used in many enzymes as the metal complex. Beyond this are there any biological uses for iron? All uses appreciated, ty.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2007 #2
    here the most prominent example i know of is its presence in haemoglobin, a protein that makes use of iron to bind oxygen and transport it around the body
  4. Mar 10, 2007 #3


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    Nope. Complexes are pretty much all iron does. The above poster's example of hemoglobin is an example of an iron complex.
  5. Mar 10, 2007 #4
    Yes, but hemoglobin is a protein, not an enzyme, so his post is a valid example of another use of iron.

    Incidentally, have you ever noticed that if you smell your finger after picking at a scab with a little blood on it, that is smells strongly like iron?
  6. Mar 10, 2007 #5
    But the iron is still acting through forming a complex - in this case, it is actually a heme porphyrin. The fact that the iron isn't performing a reaction is a mere technicallity - there are many iron-porphyrins that DO catalyze reactions.
  7. Mar 10, 2007 #6


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    Enzymes are proteins too. But hemoglobin is not an enzyme. Regardless, I think you've gotten the answer you were seeking, correct?
  8. Mar 13, 2007 #7
    Do I have to draw a Venh Diagram, I'd rather not.
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