Iron in diet: males RDA

Patient

Q: Is it okay for a man to take a women's multivitamin or some other iron containing supplement if the man is a vegetarian? I know that iron mostly comes from red meats and fish and my men's multivitamin contains 0 iron, so would it be alright to take a supplement if I am vegetarian, or would taking the supplement still be too much iron for me?

Doctor

A:   Iron is an essential mineral for a number of important functions in the body, from haemoglobin production to keep a healthy immune system. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for a male between 19-50 years old is 8 mgs/day. Some research studies have associated the high iron in the body with cancer and heart disease. There are also genetic abnormalities for excessive iron storage, for example Hemochromatosis. Excess of iron supplementation may contribute to hardening the arteries and reduce zinc absorption. Iron if taken too much over a period of time can produce liver damage, skin problems. In children the fatal dose of iron may be as little as 600mgs, so it is important to keep iron supplements out of the reach of children. Spinach, soy beans, rice clams, beans, wheat germ, oats are the best sources for Iron, then if you are vegetarian just make sure that you get enough to eat of any of these iron food sources and you will have the iron requirements covered, for a man of your age.

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