how much iron is too much
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about how much iron you’re getting. The foods you eat can influence how much iron your body ends up absorbing. Between 19 and 50 years of age, women need 18 mg of iron per day. One would think that having more is better, but in the case of too much iron in the blood, you suffer. Naturally, you may wonder just how much iron is an ideal amount. In these instances, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about your baby’s iron needs (1). However, several iron overload disorders may disrupt this fragile balance. Plus, dark chocolate contains a surprising amount of iron, at 19% of the Daily Value (DV) per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving (19). If you have this condition, your body doesn’t have enough iron to form new red blood cells. Iron is crucial to proper brain development. Take no more than 45 milligrams of elemental iron as a supplement. Observational studies suggest that a high intake of heme iron may increase the risk of colon cancer (15, 16). This is due to their rapidly developing brains and blood supply needs. This is a detailed review of the harmful effects of too much iron. For instance, iron supplements interfere with the effectiveness of Levodopa, a common medication for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, as well as Levothyroxine, used to treat thyroid cancer and goiter (16, 17). Multivitamins typically deliver 18 mg of iron, or 100% of the DV. 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). Also, if a routine blood test (advisable at least every two years) indicates low iron, experts warn against simply taking an iron supplement. Too much iron in your body may give rise to a condition called pulmonary edema. Nonheme iron, the iron source in vegetarian diets, has a bioavailability of 5–12% (2). It is safely bound to proteins, such as transferrin, which keep it from causing harm. If you’re taking any of these medications, speak to your healthcare provider to determine your optimal iron needs. This is because blood contains about 70% of your body’s iron. High iron stores -> Levels of hepcidin increase -> Iron absorption decreases. 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 deficiency can also lead to poor concentration, a short attention span, and negative effects on children’s academic performance (4). Likewise, those who donate blood frequently are at lower risk. Keep in mind that if you rely solely on nonheme (plant-based) iron, you need to consume more iron overall. Supplementing with iron may cause constipation and intestinal discomfort, so it’s best to get iron from foods whenever possible (20). Heme iron is easiest for your body to absorb and is 14–18% bioavailable in mixed diets. Hemoglobin is responsible for delivering oxygen to all of the body’s cells. Even the best food sources contain only about 5 milligrams per serving, and most foods contain less than 3 … While iron is necessary, too much could be toxic and damage your liver, heart, and other vital organs. For patients at a high risk of infection, iron supplementation should be a well-grounded decision. The tolerable upper intake level for iron is 45 milligrams per day; if you consume more iron than this from supplements on a regular basis, toxicity symptoms are likely to occur. In your body, iron is used in the production of hemoglobin which is a critical component in life. Too much iron in blood is not good. This article explains how coffee and caffeine affect iron…. Boys’ and girls’ iron needs from infancy and into late childhood are identical. Having an iron deficiency inhibits your production of hemoglobin, which is essential for hair growth. Your child doesn't have to get enough iron every day. This may increase your iron needs (2). Too much iron in blood can cause bothersome symptoms like extreme tiredness, headache and nausea. However, unless you have an iron overload disorder, you generally do not need to worry about getting too much iron from your diet. Iron overload is characterized by excessive amounts of iron in the body. Single doses as low as 10–20 mg/kg may cause adverse symptoms. Iron can be toxic in high doses, and can even be potentially fatal. Low iron intake could lead to iron-deficiency anemia. For adults and children ages 14 and up, the upper limit -- the highest dose that can be taken safely -- is 45 mg a day. The DV is a fixed number, independent of sex or age. Therefore, these lower recommendations assume that iron is not being lost through menstruation (3, 10). If you're not getting enough iron, you may develop iron-deficiency anemia. The AI is simply an average of what is normally consumed by healthy, breastfed infants. Iron needs are most stable in men. Medications, health conditions, and any dietary restrictions can impact how much iron you should be getting each day. How Many Mg of … Adult men’s needs are more stable, while women’s fluctuate according to age and whether or not they’re pregnant or nursing. Hemoglobin is the red component of blood that is the carrier of oxygen to your bodys tissues. The body has no easy way to dispose of extra iron. Rich vegetarian sources of iron include chickpeas, quinoa, seeds, beans, fortified cereals, and leafy greens. Thus, men’s iron needs stabilize during adulthood. Infants, children, and teens have a broad range of iron needs. Iron is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many basic body functions, so we must get a small amount. Other circumstances may affect your iron needs, such as dietary restrictions, medications, and health conditions. Conversely, accompanying your high-iron foods with calcium-rich foods, such as drinking milk with a plate of eggs, inhibits iron absorption. They may also seem pale, tired, lack appetite, get sick more often, and be irritable. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Lactating produces a hormone called prolactin, which may inhibit menstruation. Many serious health problems may be caused by accidental overdoses, taking high-dose supplements for a long time, or chronic iron overload disorders. Adult transgender women who have medically transitioned should also get 8 mg daily. You are especially at risk if you regularly receive blood transfusions (14). These contain varying amounts of elemental iron. Last medically reviewed on December 9, 2019. Iron toxicity can be caused by taking high doses of iron supplements for prolonged periods of time, or by taking a single overdose. If you haven’t taken hormones or undergone other steps to medically transition, your iron needs may differ. Heme iron is most readily absorbed by your body and comes from animal protein. Ages 1 to 3 years: 7 milligrams (mg) per day. Iron is essential for good health, but many people are deficient in it. This is due to the fact that nonheme iron is not as readily available to your body as heme iron (3, 15). You might also experience abnormal cravings, such as a desire to eat soil — a condition known as pica (13). People who get little or no heme iron in their diet are at an increased risk of iron deficiency (1, 2). Because of this, people who receive regular blood transfusions, such as those in cancer therapy, may be at risk for getting too much iron (7). Most people don't need to worry about getting too much iron from food alone. This is because menstruation does not typically begin before age 13 (3). Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Iron is a nutrient that plays a vital role in oxygen transport. Although there are some plausible mechanisms explaining this link, most of the evidence is based on observational studies. All rights reserved. The total number of mg (milligrams) of an iron supplement is not the same as the amount of elemental iron it contains. Having too much iron in your blood leads to a number of health and organ problems. This article discusses the potentially harmful effects of consuming too much iron. Over time, untreated hemochromatosis increases the risk of arthritis, cancer, liver problems, diabetes and heart failure (11). Avoiding taking vitamin C with foods that are rich in iron. If you take iron supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful. At high doses, iron is toxic. This type of anemia is called “pernicious” because it…. Significant physical and brain growth has slowed by age 19. Teenaged girls need more iron than boys their age — 15 mg daily. Gradually, the excess iron accumulates in internal organs, causing potentially fatal damage to the brain and liver. Some claim that coffee and other caffeinated beverages can interfere with iron absorption. Getting kidney dialysis regularly also drives up your iron needs (6). The most common disorder is hereditary hemochromatosis, which may lead to many health problems. In short, iron can be dangerous in high quantities. Men who don't get enough iron may be more likely to develop anemia and recurrent infections, though it's also dangerous for a man to consume too much iron regularly. You may be pale, feel anxious, or have cold hands and feet or brittle nails. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. For most people, iron overload is not a concern. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.The franchise includes comic books, short films, television series, and digital series. Here are 10 signs and symptoms that you're deficient in iron. Iron needs vary depending on sex and age. Several conditions may cause this to happen. The same holds true for babies with low birth weight. I got a call last week from the Chicago area about an accidental over application of iron (Fe) to bentgrass greens. Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Whether 19 or 99, younger and older adult men alike need 8 mg daily to maintain their health (3). The term “heme” is derived from a Greek word that loosely translates to “blood.” This type of iron comes from animal protein, such as poultry, fish, and beef. But continue taking a higher dose if advised to by a GP. People who follow a vegan diet need 1.8 times the RDA, compared with those who eat meat. Iron is an essential mineral, but ingesting too much can cause severe harm. Your body can absorb heme iron more readily. Regularly eating iron-rich foods helps keep your iron levels healthy, and pairing them with foods rich in vitamin C enhances iron absorption. Therefore, if you’re transgender, it’s best to discuss your iron needs with your healthcare provider. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia and occurs when the body does not have enough iron. Not all hair loss is due to genetics. Symptoms of iron toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Keep in mind that RDAs are specific to sex and age groups, while product labels generally refer to the DV. Iron toxicity can be either sudden or gradual. If you feel like you’re getting too much or too little iron, consult a health professional. 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. Pulmonary edema refers to an abnormal accumulation of fluid in your lungs' air sacs, which causes breathing difficulty. Thus, their needs are met through breastfeeding alone or from formula (4). Although larger amounts than this may be safe for most people, regularly taking as little as one iron supplement per day can lead to … Iron is a nutrient that many people have a difficult time getting enough of in their diets. Iron is naturally available in the foods you eat, and there are two main types — heme and nonheme iron. This is because they need to not only support growth but also compensate for iron lost through menstruation (5, 6, 7). Here’s a visual summary of daily iron needs according to biological sex and age (1, 3, 4): Iron needs vary according to age and sex. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Here are 7 incredibly common nutrient deficiencies. If you're not getting enough iron, you may develop iron-deficiency anemia. The average American gets all the iron they need from the food they eat. 21 Vegetarian Foods That Are Loaded With Iron, 10 Reasons Why You Might Need Iron Supplements, Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, 7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common, How to Increase the Absorption of Iron From Foods, Iron Deficiency Anemia Secondary to Inadequate Dietary Iron Intake, Iron is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many basic body functions, so we must get a, High levels of iron are potentially toxic, so we should avoid getting. The long-term ingestion of high-dose supplements may gradually cause symptoms similar to iron overload, which is discussed more below. Over time, diets low in iron may cause a deficiency. Depending on the severity of the overdose, the severe symptoms may occur anywhere between 12 hours and 5 weeks after taking too much iron. In fact, iron deficiency is the world’s most common mineral deficiency (3). Similarly, repeated high-dose iron supplementation may cause serious problems. Q: Is there a difference between the iron in vegetables and the iron in meat? Here are 21 iron-rich plant foods for vegetarians and vegans. Heme iron is the richest and most efficiently absorbed type. High doses of iron can also decrease zinc absorption. In healthy people, taking high doses of iron supplements (especially on an empty stomach) can cause an upset stomach, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and fainting. Iron being present at above 0.3 mg/L is considered an issue, but for exact readings you will need lab tests. Iron is an essential dietary mineral, mostly used by red blood cells. The Adequate Intake (AI) for infants from birth and up to the first 6 months is 0.27 mg daily. Therefore, menstruating women are less likely to experience iron overload. Pairing your high-iron foods with foods rich in vitamin C like fruits and vegetables increases iron absorption (7). Infants and toddlers need more iron than adults, in general, because their bodies are growing so quickly. 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. Make sure to follow the instructions on iron supplements, and never take more than your doctor recommends. Nick Christians: Iowa State University. Elevated levels of free iron stimulate the growth of bacteria and viruses, so too much iron can have the opposite effect and. How Much Is Too Much Iron Supplement? 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. Then, from ages 4 to 8, boys and girls should get 10 mg of iron from their diet each day. All potential risks should be taken into account. The association of red meat and cancer is a hotly-debated topic. Too little iron in your body can make you fatigue easily or become anemic and too much iron can damage internal organs and increase the risk for other illnesses like diabetes. It benefits those who suffer from iron deficiency, but may cause harm in those who are not iron-deficient. For people with iron deficiency, it is recommended to consult your doctor before increasing your iron consumption in case iron toxicity takes place. The foods you eat can influence how much iron your body ends up absorbing. First, it … Under normal circumstances, very little free iron circulates in the bloodstream. Iron is concentrated in human blood. For instance, vegans and vegetarians should get 1.8 times the RDAs for iron each day. Pairing iron with vitamin C helps your body absorb it best. It appears that regular blood donation or blood loss may reduce this risk (14). The average American gets all the iron they need from the food they eat. Learn how you can change your lifestyle to treat this condition. Simultaneously, about 1 mg is lost daily due to the shedding of the skin and mucosal surfaces like that lining your gut (3). The most effective way to get rid of excess iron is blood loss. transgender men who have medically transitioned, Other circumstances that impact iron needs, 10 Reasons Why You Might Need Iron Supplements, Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, 21 Vegetarian Foods That Are Loaded With Iron, The Dark Side of Iron - Why Too Much is Harmful, How to Increase the Absorption of Iron From Foods. On the other hand, conditions that stimulate hepcidin formation may cause iron deficiency. Single doses as low as 10 to 20 mg/kg can cause some symptoms of iron toxicity. Learn more about iron poisoning and how to treat it. Female athletes have higher needs to account for the amount of iron lost to sweating. Older women, ages 51 and older, need 8 mg of iron per day. As iron builds up in the organs, symptoms begin to get more severe. Hepcidin, the body’s iron-regulatory hormone, is responsible for keeping iron stores in balance. Babies who spent less time in the womb, such as premature babies, need more iron than full-term infants. It’s most concentrated in shellfish, organ meats, poultry, and eggs. These levels accommodate the woman’s own needs, as well as the baby’s (3). Nutrient deficiencies may occur with almost every nutrient, but some are more likely than others. Distance runners lose iron too, both in sweat and through the repeated pounding of their feet, which breaks up red blood cells. Highly-active men, such as endurance athletes, may need more than this amount, as your body loses iron through sweat (1). Early symptoms of iron poisoning may include stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Never take iron supplements unless recommended by your doctor. If you are prone to iron overload, you can minimize the risk of health problems by: However, if you have not been diagnosed with iron overload, reducing your iron intake is generally not recommended. Yes, iron can be harmful if you get too much. Iron — what is it and why is it important? Take no more than 45 milligrams of elemental iron as a supplement. However, it is a problem for those who are genetically predisposed to excessive absorption of iron from the digestive tract. There are two reasons why iron levels are tightly regulated within the body: The body regulates iron levels by adjusting the rate of iron absorption from the digestive tract. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While generalized recommendations offer some guidance, your specific iron needs are influenced by many factors, including age, sex, and diet. The iron in plants is called nonheme iron. Too much or too little of a good thing can be a problem. This can cause headaches and fatigue. Iron deficiency is rare in men and postmenopausal women, and most should avoid supplements containing iron to reduce the risk of organ damage from too much iron. Proton pump inhibitors, such as those used to treat gastric reflux, adversely affect how iron is absorbed. This is not a concern for most people. However, iron overload is not a concern when your iron comes from diet alone — unless you have a condition like hemochromatosis, which causes increased absorption of iron in your digestive tract. Reducing your intake of iron-rich foods, such as red meat. What’s more, what you eat alongside iron-rich foods matters. If your child was born prematurely or with a low birth weight, speak to your healthcare provider about their iron needs. Taking 17mg or less a day of iron supplements is unlikely to cause any harm. It binds to hemoglobin, a special protein, and helps it carry red blood cells from your lungs to other tissues in your body (1). Elemental iron refers to the amount of iron in a supplement that your body can absorb. Women who menstruate need more iron. 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). HOW MUCH IRON IS TOO MUCH? Iron toxicity refers to the harmful effects of excess iron. If she follows a vegan diet instead, she’ll need about 32 mg. Getting more than 45 mg of iron daily is associated with intestinal distress and constipation in adults (21). The established DV for iron across biological sexes and ages is 18 mg (2, 3). Iron is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. Talk to your health provider if you feel you may not be getting adequate iron from your diet. 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. Many people are iron deficient, especially women. However, like many other nutrients, it is harmful in high amounts. It’s typically caused by either a diet deficient in iron or by chronic blood losses (6). This can alter your iron needs. Over time, iron can accumulate in the organs, and cause f… Though official recommendations are unavailable, adult transgender men who have medically transitioned are often advised to adhere to the iron recommendation of 8 mg per day for cisgender men once menstruation has ceased. According to Victor Herbert, MD, a hematologist at the Mt. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. How much iron you need each day depends on your age, gender, and overall health. Iron overload refers to the gradual build up of too much iron in the body. Into the second 6 months of life, 7- to 12-month-old infants should get significantly more iron, at 11 mg daily, according to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) (4). Initial dose: 1000 mg/day ferrous sulfate (200 mg/day elemental iron) orally in divided doses (1 to 3 times daily) Comments:-If goals are not met with oral iron after 1 to 3 months, consider IV iron supplementation.-Smaller daily doses may be better tolerated. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia and occurs when the body does not have enough iron. Newborn babies need the least amount of iron from their diet. Iron is an essential nutrient. The typical adult — male or female — stores between 1–3 grams of iron in their body. The most common iron overload disorder is hereditary hemochromatosis. Recommended Daily Intake The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board says that adult men who are 19 years old or more need at least 8 milligrams of iron each day. It may occur when 1) people overdose on iron supplements, 2) take high-dose supplements for too long or 3) suffer from a chronic iron overload disorder. Pernicious anemia occurs when your body can’t absorb enough vitamin B-12 to function properly. Foods that lower iron levels are appropriate for people with a rare disease that causes iron overload in the body, known as hemochromatosis. This differs with age, health condition, and gender however, below is the normal value range of iron in the blood and anything above the parameters is to be considered too much for a grown-up adult; Iron: 60 to 170 mcg/dL (micrograms per deciliter), or … Doses higher than 40 mg/kg require medical attention (9). Clinical trials in humans have shown that heme iron from supplements or red meat may increase the formation of cancer-causing N-nitroso compounds in the digestive tract (17, 18). 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. It is caused by the body’s regulatory system failing to keep iron levels within healthy limits. This leads to the build up of iron in tissues and organs (7, 10). Women’s needs fluctuate according to age and whether or not they’re pregnant or nursing. Iron is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. Excessive iron can be damaging to the gastrointestinal system. What’s more, being deficient in vitamin A may interfere with your ability to efficiently absorb iron. Its main function is to suppress the absorption of iron. When taken in the context of nutrition, iron is a mineral, same as calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and so forth. Knowing these levels helps a doctor diagnose a … It is when these safety mechanisms fail that health issues arise. Iron supplementation is another story. Anemia is caused by a lack of iron in your body. This condition is known as iron overload. Iron overload and high-dose iron supplementation may increase the risk of infection in certain individuals. The product was Krystal Clear chelated Fe which contains 4% Fe on a … How Much Iron Per Day Is Too Much? Not getting enough iron could also cause iron-deficiency anemia, the most common nutritional deficiency in the world (2, 6, 7). Medical attention is required at doses greater than 40 mg/kg, and more than 60 mg/kg can be lethal. Recommended intakes per day The recommended intake for adult men is 8 mg of iron per day, and the recommended intake for … 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). Babies who are not getting adequate iron may be slow to gain weight. In fact, iron is so toxic that its absorption from the digestive tract is tightly controlled. Two types of iron are found in the human diet — heme iron comes from animal protein, while nonheme iron comes from plants. Low iron stores -> Levels of hepcidin decrease -> Iron absorption increases. This helps supports growth spurts common at this age (3). There is no doubt that iron overload may lead to cancer in both animals and humans (12, 13). Alternately, if you experience joint pain or a change in skin tone, or if you get sick easily, you might be getting too much iron. Organ meats, poultry, and pairing them with foods rich in vitamin C helps your body ends up.... Can have the opposite of an iron deficiency ( 1, 2 ) ) of an antioxidant – and cause., independent of sex or age iron supplement is not good, boys ’ and girls should get 10 daily... An abnormal accumulation of fluid in your lungs ' air sacs, which causes difficulty! And cancer is a pro-oxidant – the opposite of an iron supplement is not the as! Blood while in the production of hemoglobin which is a crucial part of hemoglobin, which breaks up red cells! – and may cause severe iron poisoning red blood cells is an essential mineral! 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