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Iron requirements: how much iron do we need per day?

Iron is an essential element for the proper functioning of our bodies, as it is involved in the production of hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen into tissues. Iron requirements vary depending on several factors, such as age, sex, and stages of life such as pregnancy and lactation (PubMed).

In children, iron requirements are around 7-9 mg per day. During adolescence, this amount may increase due to growth and development of the body. Adult men have slightly lower iron requirements, ranging from 10 to 12 milligrams per day. Women, on the other hand, have a higher requirement because of iron losses through the menstrual cycle. Typically, an adult woman requires about 18 milligrams of iron daily.

During pregnancy, iron requirements increase significantly due to the formation of maternal and fetal tissue, as well as growth in blood volume. During this period, a pregnant woman should consume about 30 mg of iron daily to meet the demands of her body and growing fetus.

The following is a table summarizing iron requirements by age and sex:

AgeDaily iron requirement (mg)
Children7-9 mg
AdolescentsVariable
Adult men10-12 mg
Adult women18 mg
Pregnant women30 mg
Lactating women18 mg

A balanced and varied diet rich in iron-containing foods such as meat, fish, legumes, and green leafy vegetables can help meet our body’s iron requirements. In some cases, you may need to supplement your diet with iron supplements on the advice of your doctor.

This article was originally written in Italian and translated English via deepl.com. If you notice a major error in the translation you can write to [email protected] to report it. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated

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