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What is Iron?

Iron is a mineral, and its main purpose is to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells throughout the body so cells can produce energy. Iron also helps remove carbon dioxide. When the body's iron stores become so low that not enough normal red blood cells can be made to carry oxygen efficiently, a condition known as iron deficiency anemia develops.

How much iron do you need? While your body is very good at adapting to lower or higher levels by absorbing more or less iron as needed, the recommended levels are set to meet the needs of the greater majority of the population. Here are the current Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for iron:

Gender/Age  Iron RDA 
Children 1-3 7 mg
Children 4-8 10 mg
Children 9-13 8 mg
Males/14-18 11 mg
Females/14-18 15 mg
Males/19+ 8 mg
Females/19-50 18 mg
Females/51+ 8 mg