Some people struggle to consume sufficient iron in their diets. There are also times when your requirements for iron may be increased such as during early adolescence; menstruation; during convalescence and if you are vegetarian. Insufficient dietary iron can cause fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity.
Symptoms of low iron levels
- Low energy
- Trouble exercising
- Muscle weakness
- Changes in appetite
Speak to your doctor about whether you could benefit from taking an iron supplement.
Individuals that may need iron supplementation
- Woman – women need more dietary iron to prevent an iron deficiency than men do. The amount of iron you need changes depending on your age and gender (see recommended dietary intake) but in general women need more iron than men do because they lose a certain amount of iron during their normal menstrual cycle
- Vegetarian or vegan diet – these diets don’t include animal sources of protein that are naturally high in iron
- Digestive disorders – digestive disorders can limit your ability to absorb nutrients***
- Adolescents – Times of rapid growth require increased nutritional requirements
- Pregnant – Pregnancy requires increased nutritional requirements. After all, you’re now eating for two***
*** Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
Recommended Daily Intake – Iron
The RDI based on the need to maintain a normal, functional iron concentration.
|Boys and Girls|
|7–12 months||11 mg/day|
|1–3 years||9 mg/day|
|4–8 years||10 mg/day|
|9-13 years||8 mg/day|
|14 – 18 years||11 mg/day|
|19+ years||8 mg/day|
|14 – 18 years||15 mg/day|
|19 – 50 years||18 mg/day|
|>51 years||8 mg/day|
Best food sources for iron
Wholegrain cereals, meats, fish and poultry are the major contributors to iron intake in Australia, however, the iron from plant sources is not as easily absorbed as iron from meat sources. It is also recommended to combine foods rich in iron with foods rich in vitamin C. This will help your body absorb the iron.
|Food||Quantity||Approx. iron intake|
|Lentils||1 cup||6.5 mg|
|Spinach||1 cup||6.4 mg|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||5.2 mg|
|Chickpeas||1 cup||4.7 mg|
|Sardines||100 g||2.7 mg|
|Beef||200 g||4.7 mg|
|Lamb||250 g||2.9 mg|
|Cashews||100 g||5 mg|
|Dried apricot||100 g||3.2 mg|
|Salmon||100 g||1.3 g|
If you’re tried but you just can’t seem to achieve the recommended dietary intake for iron, supplements may be an option worth exploring. Floradix Formula Liquid Herbal Iron Extract contains 7.5 mg of iron (from ferrous gluconate), per 10 mL dose. It can help you top up your iron levels when dietary intake is insufficient.