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Too much iron can be poisonous but healthy levels are important for a healthy immune system

RDA is 10 to 15 milligrams.

The recommended intake varies with age and gender. For example, men over 19 and women over 50 need 8.7 mg a day; women from 11 to 50 need 14.8 mg.

Iron is a macro-mineral that has been widely researched and investigated.

Men, post-menopausal women and children only lose a little iron. It is largely re-cycled.


It is in every red blood cell in haemoglobin, and is also involved in the immune system and detoxification processes.

Where do you get iron?

Iron is in many foods - liver, beef, seafood, eggs, asparagus, fruits, parsley, soya beans, whole grains, pulses, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables. Vegetarians can get more iron from their diet than an unbalanced general diet.

Too much iron

Too much iron is poisonous, (even small amounts can kill a child). Unnecessary iron supplements over a long time can cause damage such as cancers, hepatitis and cardiovascular disease.

Too little iron

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most widespread mineral deficiency all over the world. Symptoms include tiredness, sore tongue, cracks at the corners of the mouth and pale complexion. Signs of more severe anaemia are brittle nails, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, sleep problems, tingling hand and feet and palpitations, mostly due to a lack of oxygen.

A balanced diet should give enough iron, but if you do take iron, get a supplement that also has vitamin C to help absorption. Multi-mineral tablets usually have vitamin C as well.

Iron supplements

Take ferrous sulphate and other iron compounds after a meal to minimise possible stomach upsets. Don’t take iron supplements unless your doctor says you definitely need them.


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