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 day1. 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 haemoglobin2, this naturally means that women will 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.
Carrying a baby can mean you need more iron
Baby’s development and growth needs iron and this is dependent on the mother’s iron intake. In fact the mother’s intake also ensures that the baby’s is born with adequate iron stores for the first six months of life. Some pregnant women are not able to get all the iron they need from their diet and often their doctor or midwife recommends an iron supplement*. Taking a supplement with added vitamin C can also help as vitamin C increases iron absorption. Learn more about the importance of iron during pregnancy.