WARNING! Do not use iron supplements unless you are pregnant or deficient in iron. Why?
After the wrong kind of fat (trans fat), the nutrient most likely to cause rather than prevent infections disease is iron. Iron is unique among essential minerals, because there is no mechanism for its excretion once it is absorbed into the human body.
Whatever iron is absorbed must be either used or stored, and excessive storage of iron in the human body promotes the generation of free radicals. Excess dietary iron has been implicated by some scientists as a cause of cancer and heart disease. It also increases the risk of bacteria infection.
Except for the lactic acid bacteria like Lactobacilli, all microbes require iron for growth. Many of them produce special binding proteins to secure iron from their environments. Humans also produce iron-binding proteins that capture free iron so that microbes can't use it. An excess of iron overcomes this protective mechanism and increases susceptibility to bacterial infection.
The amount of iron needed per day for optimal health reflects a delicate balance between deficiency and excess. That is obvious common sense, but it is shocking to see unsuspecting individuals swallowing those multi-minerals pills every day.
(Anemia, blog on later post.)