Science

Should a Multivitamin Include Iron? It Depends

3 min read

Do you need iron in your multivitamin? Let's dig into the science.
Do you need iron in your multivitamin? Let's dig into the science.

You probably know that meeting your iron needs is important. But how well do you really know this essential nutrient?

For starters, iron is a mineral that’s needed for a variety of functions in the body. On the most important ways the body uses iron is in supporting the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin, a key protein in the body. Iron also supports blood cell formation as well as energy-yielding metabolism.* (1,2)

How much iron do adult men and women need?

The United States National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that adult men between the ages of 19 and 50 get 8 milligrams (mg) of iron each day. Women have higher iron needs than men—and it’s recommended that adult women between the ages of 19 and 50 get 18 mg of iron per day.*

Women over the age of 50 have a lower recommended intake of 8 mg per day—while pregnant women have a higher recommended daily value of 27 mg per day.* (1)

Those needs, however, can change based on a variety of factors—most notably age and pregnancy.

Iron needs increase during pregnancy: It’s recommended that pregnant women get 27 mg of iron every day.*

If you’re over the age of 50, it’s possible to help meet the recommended 8mg of iron by eating iron-rich foods (including meat, seafood, poultry, beans, nuts, and green, leafy veggies like spinach). However, for women who are either pregnant or under the age of 50, it might be necessary to supplement your diet with a multivitamin with iron to meet the recommended daily value.*

Is the form of iron you take important?

When it comes to taking a multivitamin with iron, not all supplements are created equal. The form of iron can be just as important as the amount—especially when it comes to avoiding unwanted effects. We recommend looking for a form that have been shown to be gentler on the stomach—like the clinically-studied amino acid chelate form of iron (the same form you’ll find in food), which we use in our multivitamins.* (2)

References:

  1. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron Fact Sheet for Consumers. Retrieved from National Institute of Health
  2. Ashmead HD. 2001. The absorption and metabolism of iron amino acid chelate. Arch Latinoam Nutr 2001;1(Suppl 1):13-21. Retrieved from National Institute of Health.

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