When it comes iron, men and women have different requirements. Men need around 8mg of iron per day while for pre-menopausal women this increases to 18mg per day, and pregnant women may need up to 27mg per day.1,4 But why is that? Well there are two main reasons and both relate to the female reproductive system, as this article will explain.
Women lose iron during menstruation
Iron is a crucial component of the haemoglobin in our blood, and without it our bodies abilities to circulate oxygen would be severely diminished. As up to 96% of our blood is comprised of haemoglobin,2 this naturally means that women may lose a lot of that iron during menstruation. This also explains why post-menopausal women need only the same amount of iron as men to stay healthy.
Developing Babies need a lot of iron
Just as iron is a crucial component of the blood in the adult human body, it’s also a crucial component of the blood of a developing foetus. In fact, growing babies are still absorbing iron from their mothers breast milk for up to 6 months after their births.3 Many pregnant women are actually iron deficient and as a result may need to supplement their intake to stay healthy. Such women should also consider supplementing with Vitamin C as it can help boost the human body’s ability to absorb iron. Learn more about the importance of iron during pregnancy.
Always read the label and use only as directed. Iron supplementation may be of assistance where dietary iron intake is inadequate.
1 Pagano, T. (2016, May 21). Are You Getting Enough Iron? Retrieved January 18, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/baby/are-you-getting-enough-iron
2 Med, D. (2017, January 1). Iron Saturation Blood Test. Retrieved January 18, 2018, from https://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/iron-saturation-blood-test/
3 Society, C. P. (2007, April 12). Iron needs of babies and children. Retrieved January 18, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528681/
4 NHRMC (National Health and Medical Research Council) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Iron, 2005.