Recommended daily intake of iron

Iron plays an essential role in delivering oxygen to the body via the bloodstream. It also has many muscular and metabolic functions. A lack of iron can lead to anemia and reduce your resistance to infection. Studies show that iron supplements can prevent or treat iron deficiency anemia. Research also has demonstrated that iron supplements may benefit women during menstruation or pregnancy. Iron deficiency is uncommon in postmenopausal women.

Recommended daily intake of iron

AgeIron mg/day
15%
bio-availability
Iron mg/day
12%
bio-availability
Iron mg/day
10%
bio-availability
Iron mg/day
5%
bio-availability
0 - 6 months(k)(k)(k)(k)
7-11 months[6] (l)[8] (l)[9] (l)[19] (l)
1-3 years 45612
4-6 years45613
7-9 years67918
Males 10 - 18 years10 (10-14 yrs)
12 (15-18 yrs)
12 (10-14 yrs)
16 (15-18 yrs)
15 (10-14 yrs)
19 (15-18 yrs)
29 (10-14 yrs)
38 (15-18 yrs)
Females 10 - 18 years9 (10-14 yrs) (m)
22 (10-14 yrs)
21 (15-18 yrs)
12 (10-14 yrs) (m)
28 (10-14 yrs)
26 (15-18 yrs)
14 (10-14 yrs) (m)
33 (10-14 yrs)
31 (15-18 yrs)
28 (10-14 yrs) (m)
65 (10-14 yrs)
62 (15-18 yrs)
Males 19 - 65 years9111227
Females 19 - 50 years 20242959
Females 51 - 65 years891123
Males 65 + years9111427
Females 65 + years891123
Pregnancy
First trimester
(n)(n)(n)(n)
Pregnancy
Second trimester
(n)(n)(n)(n)
Pregnancy
Third trimester
(n)(n)(n)(n)
Lactation
0-3 months
10121530
Lactation
4-6 months
10121530
Lactation
7-12 months
10121530

(i)There is evidence that iron absorption can be significantly enhanced when each meal contains a minimum of 25 mg of Vitamin C, assuming three meals per day. This is especially true if there are iron absorption inhibitors in the diet such as phytate or tannins.
(k)Neonatal iron stores are sufficient to meet the iron requirement for the first six months in full term infants. Premature infants and low birth weight infants require additional iron.
(l)Bio-availability of dietary iron during this period varies greatly.
(m)Non-menstruating adolescents.
(n)It is recommended that iron supplements in tablet form be given to all pregnant women because of the difficulties in correctly evaluating iron status in pregnancy. In the non-anaemic pregnant woman, daily supplements of 100 mg of iron (e.g., as ferrous sulphate) given during the second half of pregnancy are adequate. In anaemic women higher doses are usually required.

Foods High in Iron

FoodAmount(mg)
Liver3 oz7.5
Round steak3 oz3.0
Hamburger, lean3 oz3.0
Baked beans0,5 cup3.0
Pork3 oz2.7
White beans0,5 cup2.7
Soybeans0,5 cup2.5
Pork and beans0,5 cup2.3
Fish3 oz1.0
Chicken3 oz1.0
Breakfast cereal, iron-
fortified
1 cup8.0 (4-18)
Oatmeal, fortified1 cup8.0
Bagel1 each1.7
English muffin1 each1.6
Rye bread1 slice1.0
Whole-wheat bread1 slice0.8
White bread1 slice0.6
Prune juice6 oz7.0
Apricots, dried0,5 cup2.5
Prunes5 medium2.0
Raisins0,5 cup1.3
Plums3 medium1.1
Spinach, cooked0,5 cup2.3
Lima beans0,5 cup2.2
Black-eyed peas0,5 cup1.7
Peas0,5 cup1.6
Asparagus0,5 cup1.5