Iron is an essential mineral and is vital for the many complex processes and functions in the body, from the normal formation of red blood cells, to supporting our energy levels and cognitive function.
It is assumed that only 15% of dietary iron is absorbed. As a result, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for men aged over 19 and women aged 19-50 is 8.7mg/day and 14.8mg/day respectively. The RNI falls down to 8.7mg/day for women of 50+ years.
Like all nutrients, iron plays a vital role during pregnancy. A baby’s growth requires iron and it is an important nutrient for normal cognitive (brain) development. As pregnancy progresses, your blood volume will gradually increase and so will your iron need.
When it comes iron, men and women have different requirements. Men need around 8.7mg of iron per day while for pre-menopausal women this increases to 14.8mg per day. But why is that? Well there are two main reasons and both relate to the female reproductive system.