What Does Iron Do For The Body?

Vitabiotics | Published: 08/11/2023

What Does Iron Do For The Body?

Unsure What Iron Does For The Body? We Let You In...

Iron is an essential mineral, found in a range of animal, plant and fortified foods.

However, some people may find they are lacking in iron, so may choose to safeguard their intake with a supplement.

But why? What exactly do we need iron for?

What Does Iron Do For The Body?

Lacking energy? You might be low in iron.

This essential mineral contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It also plays a role in making red blood cells and haemoglobin, and helps carry oxygen around the body.

Iron also contributes to the normal functioning of our immune system, as well as normal cognitive function.

How Much Iron Do Adults Need?

The amount of iron needed for adults varies depending on age and gender. The UK Department of Health and Social Care recommends that men over the age of 18 need 8.7mg of iron each day; this is the same amount for women aged 50 and over. Women aged 19 to 50 should aim to consume 14.8mg of iron a day to make up for the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period.

How Much Iron Do Children Need?

The amount of iron that babies and children need depends on age. NHS guidelines are that babies aged 0 to 3 months need 1.7mg of iron per day, babies aged 4 to 6 months should get 4.3mg of iron per day and babies aged 7 to 12 months should get 7.8mg of iron per day.

When a baby turns 1, the recommended amount of iron they need decreases slightly. Children aged 1 to 3 years old should have 6.9mg a day whilst children aged 4 to 6 years should have 6.1mg a day. Children 7 to 10 years need 8.7mg a day.

During the teenage years, girls aged 11 to 18 are recommended to get 14.8mg a day, whereas boys aged 11 to 18 years old should have 11.3mg a day.

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How Can I Get Iron From Food?

Eating iron-rich foods can help ensure you’re getting enough of this mineral.

It’s important to note that there are two different types of iron found in food: haem iron and non-haem iron. Haem iron is absorbed more easily by the body and is found in animal foods. Non haem iron is found in plant foods as well as fortified foods such as fortified cereals.

Below is a list of iron-rich foods...

  • Fortified cereals - 19.6mg per ¾ cup
  • Cocoa powder - 15.5mg per 100g
  • Chicken liver - 12.9mg per 100g
  • Beef steak - 9.3mg per 170g steak
  • Oysters - 7.8mg per 85g
  • Dried fruit (apricots) - 7.5mg per cup
  • Spinach - 6.4mg per cup cooked
  • Artichokes - 5.1mg per cup
  • Quinoa - 2.8mg per cup
  • White button mushrooms - 2.7mg per cup cooked
  • Fish (Mackerel) - 2.7mg per 170g
  • Canned tuna - 2.5mg per can drained
  • Squash and pumpkin seeds - 2.5mg per 28g handful
  • Green peas - 2.5mg per cup
  • Tempeh - 2.1mg per 100g
  • Dried goji berries - 1.9mg per 5tbsp
  • Turkey meat (dark) - 1.3mg per 85g
  • Bass - 1.2mg per fillet
  • Chicken breast- 1mg per ½ breast

Iron Absorption Inhibitors

Some foods can actually slow down the rate at which your body absorbs iron from foods and supplements.

The NHS states that foods containing large amounts of phytic acids - such as nuts, beans and whole grains - can stop or inhibit the absorption of iron from foods and supplements.

As can large amounts of tea, coffee, milk and dairy.

The Best Iron Supplements To Take

An iron supplement can help safeguard your intake.

Feroglobin is the UK’s number one iron supplement brand, offering a range of iron supplements in convenient formats, including liquids, capsules and effervescent tablets. These also contain other essential nutrients, such as folic acid and vitamin B12, to contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and vitamin C which increases iron absorption.

Feroglobin Capsules provide 17mg of gentle iron in a slow-release capsule, with added zinc and B vitamins, which also contribute to normal blood formation.

Feroglobin Fizz provides 17mg of iron per tablet, as well as vitamins B6, B12 and vitamin C, which help to reduce tiredness and fatigue and contribute to normal energy release. These effervescent tablets dissolve in water and are a refreshing alternative to capsules.

The vitamin C in Feroglobin Fizz also increases iron absorption, while copper in these effervescent tablets supports normal iron transport in the body.

If you want to safeguard your child’s iron intake, Feroglobin Liquid is suitable for children over 3 years as well as adults and contains an organic form of iron citrate complex for improved absorption. Iron contributes to normal cognitive development of children. Each 10ml of honey and orange flavour liquid provides around 14mg of iron.

Feroglobin Liquid Plus is an advanced liquid iron formula for adults which contains 14mg of iron per 10ml of liquid, plus folate and vitamin D, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system. It also provides Siberian Ginseng.

The NHS recommends taking iron supplements on an empty stomach, ideally an hour before food, with a drink that contains vitamin C, such as orange juice, as vitamin C helps to increase iron absorption.

Meet the Author

lucy gornall

lucy gornall


lucy gornall


Lucy is an award winning freelance health, fitness and wellbeing journalist and copywriter. She is also a personal trainer, teaching at London based studios. With 10 years of journalistic experience under her belt, Lucy was formerly a health editor across various women’s magazines and also editor for a national women’s glossy title. She now writes for various publications whilst also working on various branded content

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