Iron deficiencies are extremely rare (extreme athletes and pregnant woman, I think, are some of the exceptions). For most people, there is quite enough iron in their diet. Vegetarian? Do you think there is not enough iron in your diet? Let me know where this notion came from ... I'm skeptical. See the following:
J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Sep 19;55(19):7950-6.
Screening of iron bioavailability patterns in eight bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) genotypes using the Caco-2 cell in vitro model.
Ariza-Nieto M, Blair MW, Welch RM, Glahn RP.
Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
The common bean ( Phaseolus vulgaris) is an important staple plant food in the diets of people of Latin America, East Africa,and other regions of the developing world. It is also a major source of dietary iron. The primary goal of this research was to use an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 model to study iron bioavailability in eight genotypes (three Mesoamerican and five Andean) that represent the diversity of grain types in this crop. Complementing this goal, we measured the distribution of both iron and phytate in different bean grain tissues (cotyledon, seed coats, and embryos). Seed coats were confirmed to be the exclusive tissue containing polyphenols. The removal of the seed coat and associated polyphenols improved Caco-2 iron bioavailability, and significant differences were observed between genotypes. The addition of ascorbate enhanced iron bioavailability and exposed additional differences in Fe availability among the genotypes. These results indicate that iron accumulation and in vitro iron bioavailability vary among bean genotypes and that polyphenols had greater inhibitory effects on Caco-2 iron bioavailability as compared to phytate.
Bioavailability may vary; the point is there is lots of iron in beans. Fe is nearly ubiquitous. -j
Under some circumstances, ascorbate in the presence of Fe can act as prooxidant and generate reactive oxygen species. Here is something to confuse you more:
Radiat Res. 1996 May;145(5):532-41.
Catalytic metals, ascorbate and free radicals: combinations to avoid.
Buettner GR, Jurkiewicz BA.
ESR Facility and Radiation Research Laboratory, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 52242-1101, USA.
Trace levels of transition metals can participate in the metal-catalyzed Haber-Weiss reaction (superoxide-driven Fenton reaction) as well as catalyze the oxidation of ascorbate. Generally ascorbate is thought of as an excellent reducing agent; it is able to serve as a donor antioxidant in free radical-mediated oxidation processes. However, as a reducing agent it is also able to reduce redox-active metals such as copper and iron, thereby increasing the pro-oxidant chemistry of these metals. Thus ascorbate can serve as both a pro-oxidant and an antioxidant. In general, at low ascorbate concentrations, ascorbate is prone to be a pro-oxidant, and at high concentrations, it will tend to be an antioxidant. Hence there is a crossover effect. We propose that the "position" of this crossover effect is a function of the catalytic metal concentration. In this presentation, we discuss: (1) the role of catalytic metals in free radical-mediated oxidations; (2) ascorbate as both a pro-oxidant and an antioxidant; (3) catalytic metal catalysis of ascorbate oxidation; (4) use of ascorbate to determine adventitious catalytic metal concentrations; (5) use of ascorbate radical as a marker of oxidative stress; and (6) use of ascorbate and iron as free radical pro-oxidants in photodynamic therapy of cancer.
Oh .... what to believe! -j