Nutrient Information: Iron, Fe

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Nutrient Key Information 
Nutrient Name: Iron, Fe
Nutrient Category: Minerals
Unit Name: mg
Nutrient Summary: Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. A person should get adequate iron intake to increase the red blood cell formation capability.
Nutrient Function: • Iron is a critical component of several proteins: cytochromes, myoglobin, and hemoglobin.
• Make ... (Continue the page to read more)


Sample Foods High in:
Iron, Fe  ( Additional Top Food Sources )
Food Description Nutrient Amount1 Daily Value%2
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised
Category: Pork Products
17.92 mg 99.56%
Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids
Category: Sweets
11.9 mg 66.11%
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat
Category: Finfish and Shellfish Products
9.21 mg 51.17%
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, without salt
Category: Nut and Seed Products
8.07 mg 44.83%
Beef, plate steak, boneless, outside skirt, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, grilled
Category: Beef Products
5.09 mg 28.28%
Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Category: Vegetables and Vegetable Products
3.57 mg 19.83%
1 Nutrient amount is in 100 gram food
2 Use Female 31-50 years old as Daily Value reference


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Nutrient Detail Information
Nutrient Summary Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. A person should get adequate iron intake to increase the red blood cell formation capability.
Nutrient Function • Iron is a critical component of several proteins: cytochromes, myoglobin, and hemoglobin.
• Make hemoglobin in red blood cell transports oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body for metabolism.
• Make myoglobin, a protein to provide oxygen to muscles.
• Required for red blood cell production
• Help growth and development
• Help energy production
• Play the role in immune function (immune cells proliferation and maturation)
• Help with wound healing
• Essential for activating certain enzymes and for making amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones.

• ~2/3 body iron is in hemoglobin which is involved in the transport of oxygen from lungs to tissues throughout the body for metabolism.
• ~25% body iron is in mobilizable iron store stored as ferritin in liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
• ~15% body iron is in the myoglobin of muscle tissue.
Food Sources
Top Food Sources
Heme iron (with higher absorption rate ~25%):
• Lean meat
• Organ meat (such as liver)
• Poultry
• Seafood (such as tuna, sardines, haddock, shrimp, and oysters)

Nonheme iron (with lower absorption rate ~16.8%):
• Iron-fortified breakfast cereals and breads, and whole grain
• Green vegetables (such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens)
• Eggs
• Nuts and seeds
• Dried fruits (such as raisins and prunes)
• Beans, lentils, and peas
• Soy products (such as tofu)
• Meat, seafood, and poultry

For vegan diet (pure vegetarian), the key food sources of Iron are as following (note: their absorption rate is lower):
• Fortified cereals, enriched and whole grains
• Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, turnip greens
• Dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, raisins
• Legumes, such as black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils

Notes:
• The following nutrients or foods can enhance nonheme iron absorption:
- Vitamin C ascorbic acid
- Meat, fish, and poultry
• The following nutrients or foods can inhibit nonheme iron absorption:
- Phytate: in foods such as soybeans, black beans, lentils, mung beans, split peas, and unrefined rice and grains
- Polyphenols: in foods such as tea, many grain products, and red wine
• Calcium inhibits the absorption of both heme and nonheme iron.
Deficiency Health Effects • Iron deficiency anemia
• Reduced physical work capacity
• Impaired cognitive function
• Delayed psychomotor development in infants
Effects if Above Upper Limit • Gastrointestinal distress, such as constipation and nausea
• Acute toxicity with vomiting and diarrhea
• Fatal poisoning with extremely high doses of iron
• High doses of iron may decrease zinc absorption
External References Learn more at:
• The National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine publication: Dietary Reference Intakes
• NIH (National Institutes of Health) article: Iron



Daily Value Age Group Recommended Daily Values Daily Value Upper Limits
Toddler 1 to 3 years old: 7 mg 40 mg
Child 4 to 8 years old: 10 mg 40 mg
Male 9 to 13 years old: 8 mg 40 mg
Male 14 to 18 years old: 11 mg 45 mg
Male 19 to 30 years old: 8 mg 45 mg
Male 31 to 50 years old: 8 mg 45 mg
Male 51 to 70 years old: 8 mg 45 mg
Male Senior 71 or older: 8 mg 45 mg
Female 9 to 13 years old: 8 mg 40 mg
Female 14 to 18 years old: 15 mg 45 mg
Female 19 to 30 years old: 18 mg 45 mg
Female 31 to 50 years old: 18 mg 45 mg
Female 51 to 70 years old: 8 mg 45 mg
Female Senior 71 or older: 8 mg 45 mg
Female Pregnancy (>18): 27 mg 45 mg
Female Lactation (>18): 9 mg 45 mg
FDA (Based on 2000 calorie daily diet): 18 mg


Dietary Reference Intakes The nutrient Dietary Reference Intakes and nutrition facts is from Institute of Medicine of National Academies 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11537
US FDA Nutrition Education Nutrition facts knowledge are based on U.S. FOOD & DRUG Administration Nutrition Education Resources & Materials. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/
National Institutes of Health Nutrition facts knowledge are based on National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all
Disclaimer The nutrient information provided here should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (such as your doctor) about your dietary requirements which are best for your overall health. We also recommend you to read organization or professional reference documents or articles mentioned, but not limited to, in this page. Any mentions and reference links in this page don't represent our endorsement of their services and advice.


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