In a study of more than 1,000 white men and women aged 67 to 96 who live at home, 13 percent had too much iron in their blood, but only three percent had too little. Ages 4 to 8 years: 10 mg daily. Boys’ and girls’ iron needs from infancy and into late childhood are identical. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Taking these consistently for several years may increase your iron needs (18). If your child eats a vegetarian diet, aim for twice as much iron because iron from nonanimal sources is harder for the body to absorb. Thus, their needs are met through breastfeeding alone or from formula (4). For adults and children ages 14 and up, the upper limit -- the highest dose that can be taken safely -- is 45 mg a day. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. This is because menstruation does not typically begin before age 13 (3). This article discusses how much iron you may need, factors impacting those needs, and how to tell if you’re not getting the right amount. Not all hair loss is due to genetics. For example, a healthy adult woman between the ages of 19 and 50 who eats animal protein regularly may need 18 mg of iron daily. Also, if a routine blood test (advisable at least every two years) indicates low iron, experts warn against simply taking an iron supplement. Yes, iron can be harmful if you get too much. This can alter your iron needs. Keep in mind that the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) — the highest amount you can safely consume — is 40–45 mg per day for iron, depending on your sex and age (11). Iron being present at above 0.3 mg/L is considered an issue, but for exact readings you will need lab tests. Never take iron supplements unless recommended by your doctor. I got a call last week from the Chicago area about an accidental over application of iron (Fe) to bentgrass greens. Ages 1 to 3 years: 7 milligrams (mg) per day. But continue taking a higher dose if advised to by a GP. The correct iron dosage for anemia depends on your weight and what your doctor recommends, but aim for 2 to 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily. The body needs iron to produce hemoglobin. Indeed, Iron excess is a greater risk than iron deficiency for many older Americans. Iron overload refers to the gradual build up of too much iron in the body. On the other hand, nonheme iron comes from plant sources, including legumes, leafy greens, and nuts. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the body loses about 2 mg daily, as blood is shed from the lining of the uterus (3, 5, 6, 7). Two types of iron are found in the human diet — heme iron comes from animal protein, while nonheme iron comes from plants. Iron supplementation is another story. As iron builds up in the organs, symptoms begin to get more severe. Taking 17mg or less a day of iron supplements is unlikely to cause any harm. Similarly, repeated high-dose iron supplementation may cause serious problems. Likewise, the iron needs of teen transgender folks — both of those who have medically transitioned and those who have not — may differ from adult needs. One would think that having more is better, but in the case of too much iron in the blood, you suffer. The iron in plants is called nonheme iron. High levels of iron are potentially toxic, so we should avoid getting too much. This is due to their rapidly developing brains and blood supply needs. When taken in the context of nutrition, iron is a mineral, same as calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and so forth. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. This leads to the build up of iron in tissues and organs (7, 10). Medications, health conditions, and any dietary restrictions can impact how much iron you should be getting each day. A: Yes. It’s typically caused by either a diet deficient in iron or by chronic blood losses (6). Learn more about iron poisoning and how to treat it. Over time, untreated hemochromatosis increases the risk of arthritis, cancer, liver problems, diabetes and heart failure (11). All rights reserved. Too much or too little iron in your diet can lead to health issues like liver problems, iron-deficiency anemia, and heart damage (1). Do Coffee and Caffeine Inhibit Iron Absorption? Iron — what is it and why is it important? Iron is essential for good health, but many people are deficient in it. Your child doesn't have to get enough iron every day. This can cause headaches and fatigue. Single doses as low as 10–20 mg/kg may cause adverse symptoms. Doses higher than 40 mg/kg require medical attention (9). Older women, ages 51 and older, need 8 mg of iron per day. With the passage of time, abnormally high blood iron levels … The total number of mg (milligrams) of an iron supplement is not the same as the amount of elemental iron it contains. For instance, drinking orange juice with a plate of eggs increases your body’s absorption of the iron in eggs. Likewise, an overdose of iron supplements may cause severe iron poisoning. Anemia is caused by a lack of iron in your body. According to Victor Herbert, MD, a hematologist at the Mt. All rights reserved. For people with iron deficiency, it is recommended to consult your doctor before increasing your iron consumption in case iron toxicity takes place. High iron stores -> Levels of hepcidin increase -> Iron absorption decreases. Adult transgender women who have medically transitioned should also get 8 mg daily. It is a crucial part of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. Too much or too little of a good thing can be a problem. Although there are some plausible mechanisms explaining this link, most of the evidence is based on observational studies. However, AIs for premature and low-birthweight infants have not been established. However, iron toxicity can significantly increase the levels of “free” iron in the body. Nutrient deficiencies may occur with almost every nutrient, but some are more likely than others. Significant physical and brain growth has slowed by age 19. For men 50 and over, understanding the right amounts of daily iron is important to a balanced diet, but understand as well that too much can pose health problems. Learn how you can change your lifestyle to treat this condition. The AI is simply an average of what is normally consumed by healthy, breastfed infants. If you're not getting enough iron, you may develop iron-deficiency anemia. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Pregnant women, infants, endurance athletes, and teenage girls are most at risk of iron deficiency (2, 6, 7, 12). The average American gets all the iron they need from the food they eat. The foods you eat can influence how much iron your body ends up absorbing. Make sure to follow the instructions on iron supplements, and never take more than your doctor recommends. The long-term ingestion of high-dose supplements may gradually cause symptoms similar to iron overload, which is discussed more below. While the Western diet typically contains 7 mg of iron for every 1,000 calories, only an estimated 1–2 mg of iron will be absorbed by your body (6). Iron needs are most stable in men. Iron can be toxic in high doses, and can even be potentially fatal. Female athletes have higher needs to account for the amount of iron lost to sweating. The serum ferritin test measures the amount of iron that the body has stored. How much iron you need each day depends on your age, gender, and overall health. The rate of iron absorption from the digestive tract is tightly regulated by the hormone hepcidin. Pulmonary edema refers to an abnormal accumulation of fluid in your lungs' air sacs, which causes breathing difficulty. Keep in mind that if you rely solely on nonheme (plant-based) iron, you need to consume more iron overall. Too much iron in blood can cause bothersome symptoms like extreme tiredness, headache and nausea. Several studies indicate that iron supplementation may increase the frequency and severity of infections, although a few studies found no effects (22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27). The University of Maryland Medical Center states that you can regularly eat up to 45 milligrams of iron per day without any ill health effects. Foods that lower iron levels are appropriate for people with a rare disease that causes iron overload in the body, known as hemochromatosis. At high doses, iron is toxic. Pairing iron with vitamin C helps your body absorb it best. Then, from ages 4 to 8, boys and girls should get 10 mg of iron from their diet each day. Usual Adult Dose for … How Much Is Too Much Iron Supplement? On the other hand, conditions that stimulate hepcidin formation may cause iron deficiency. Lactating produces a hormone called prolactin, which may inhibit menstruation. Therefore, it’s best to consume calcium-rich foods at a separate time (2). If you’re predominantly breastfeeding, your iron needs drop from levels needed during pregnancy. This condition is known as iron overload. Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Not getting enough iron could also cause iron-deficiency anemia, the most common nutritional deficiency in the world (2, 6, 7). Many serious health problems may be caused by accidental overdoses, taking high-dose supplements for a long time, or chronic iron overload disorders. 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