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Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron - Intake of Iron - Heme/Non-Heme - Red Blood Cells - Anemia - Healthy Diet

Iron: Daily Needs

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Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron

What is Iron?

An essential trace element, or mineral, iron is present in the body as hemoglobin (the red oxygen-carrying blood pigment), with the remainder stored in the liver, spleen, bone-marrow and muscles (myoglobin). In these organs and in the blood plasma, iron exists as a protein complex. Althought an average 150 pound adult has about 4g of iron in his/her body, iron deficiency is the most prevalent type of mineral deficiency in women.

Functions of Iron in Diet

Essential for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body, myoglobin (oxygen reservoir in muscles) and certain enzymes.

Iron: Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

US RDA: 10-18mg (30mg if pregnant)
EU RDA: 14mg

People Who Need More Iron in Diet

Certain groups have a higher risk of iron-deficiency, as follows:

Women
Our iron stores are constantly being depleted. A typical adult may lose about 1mg per day. Menstruation increases this iron-loss by about 0.8mg per day, while breast-feeding uses up an extra 0.4mg per day. On average, women lose almost twice as much iron as men, each month.

During Pregnancy
It is difficult for a pregnant woman to eat enough iron from food sources alone, which may leave her vulnerable to anemia and exhaustion. Anemia can make the mother less able to fight off infections and unable to handle hemorrhaging during the birth. Pregnant women should eat iron-rich foods AND take supplements in order to prevent an iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli, strawberries, meats, whole grains, prune juice, dried fruit, legumes, and blackstrap molasses.

Official Guidelines on Iron Supplements During Pregnancy
According to the U.S. government, iron requirements in pregnancy cannot be met through diet alone and should be attained through supplements containing iron.

Vegetarians
Although the iron in vegan plant food is less well absorbed than iron from meat, recent surveys of vegans have shown that iron deficiency is no more common among vegans than in the rest of the population.

Nutrition Resources About Iron

Food Sources
Health & Weight Benefits

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