We all need oxygen to survive. But what carries this oxygen from our lungs to all the tissues and organs in the body? If you said blood, you're right. More specifically, though, it's the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Hemoglobin contains iron, which allows it to pick up oxygen from the air we breathe and deliver it everywhere in the body. You can think of hemoglobin as the iron ("heme"), oxygen transport protein, ("globin") found in red blood cells. It's the hemoglobin that gives red blood cells their color, too.
As you can see, the hemoglobin in our red blood cells has a really important role. Next, you’ll learn about anemia and iron’s role in iron-deficiency anemia.
Did You Know?
When the hemoglobin has delivered oxygen to the cells, it then becomes a magnet for carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of the cell. Hemoglobin then picks up carbon dioxide and gives it back to the lungs where it leaves the body as we exhale.