How much iron do I get?


Your body normally has big reserve stores of iron (3000 – 4000mg in total). If #irondeficiency you are probably functioning on 30-50% of your iron stores, so you will be down by about 1000mg – 2000mg.

To put this in perspective, your body has several years of iron in reserve you only need 1-2mg #iron per day. Reduced absorption or increased loss causes iron deficiency slowly over time, so sudden changes or symptoms are not noticed.

The Maths:
Normal Iron Stores = +4000mg

Over one year:
Normal Absorption = +2000mg
Normal losses = -1000mg
Losses from normal periods = -250mg
Losses from Heavy periods = -500mg
Pregnancy = -1400mg
Blood loss (1litre = -500mg)

Iron deficiency happens before you become anaemic. To become anaemic, the body is so low on iron it cannot perform the most vital function, to make red blood cells. So by the time you have iron deficiency anaemia the body is empty of iron. You need to replace the loss – a minimum of 1000mg


Author: Professor Toby Richards

Mr Toby Richards is a Professor of Surgery at University College London. He has pioneered anaemia management and intravenous iron therapy in the UK. His underlying belief is that optimising patient’s health and fitness before surgery will improve their recovery and benefit their outcomes. He has embedded clinical research and development into all areas of practice.

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