Iron is vital for red blood cell formation, transporting oxygen, and supporting overall wellness.†
Do multivitamins have Iron? Some do. If you don’t get enough Iron from your diet, it’s helpful to consider a supplemental option, such as an Iron-containing multivitamin, which may provide 100% of your daily needs.
Supplemental Iron is not appropriate for everyone such as most men, postmenopausal women, and individuals with health concerns. The best way to know whether an Iron supplement is a good idea is to speak with your doctor.
Nature Made® provides options for those seeking an Iron supplement, including an Iron-containing multivitamin, along with Iron supplements in tablet and gummy form to help meet your daily needs.
Multivitamins are a common sight in households across the country. While many people take a variety of different nutritional supplements, most people view multivitamins as a good way to help fill in micronutrient gaps in their diet. So, should you take a multivitamin every day?
Multivitamins combine a variety of vitamins and minerals to help you meet your basic micronutrient needs. While a balanced diet provides the majority of your micronutrients — as well as the macronutrients fat, protein, and carbohydrates — sometimes we fall short in meeting certain nutrient needs through diet alone.
One important nutrient found in some multivitamins is Iron, a mineral necessary for red blood cell formation and assists with the transport of oxygen in the body as part of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. i. Do multivitamins have Iron all the time? No, and understanding how and when to choose one that does is important.
Let’s discuss the roles of Iron in your body and overall health and whether you should take a multivitamin that contains this mineral.
Why is Iron important?
Iron is a mineral vital for red blood cell formation. Additionally, Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that’s responsible for transporting oxygen throughout your body — specifically from your lungs to your tissues.†
Iron is also a component of myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen, supporting healthy connective tissues and muscle metabolism. It’s also very important for growth and development, the healthy functioning of cells, and producing certain hormones.†
Food sources of Iron include lean meat, fish, poultry, tofu, beans, lentils, spinach, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Do multivitamins have Iron? It depends. When you peruse the supplement aisle, you’ll notice that some multivitamins contain Iron while others do not. This is because some groups of people may need additional Iron while others may not.
Consider the physiological differences between men and women. While women regularly lose Iron-containing blood as part of their menstrual cycle, men do not. Therefore, premenopausal women are more likely to need supplemental Iron to meet their needs than men and postmenopausal women.
Taking supplemental Iron in addition to dietary Iron can be potentially dangerous for those who don’t truly need it. For example, for individuals over age 50, supplemental iron is not recommended. If individuals over age 50 suspect low Iron status or an Iron deficiency, they should have their levels checked by their physician or preferred healthcare provider.
How Much Iron is Enough?
Recommended daily Iron intake
Iron needs are different for children versus adults and men versus women. They also change after menopause and during pregnancy and lactation. Below are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of Iron for adults, which are the average daily amount sufficient to meet the requirements of 98% of healthy individuals.
Males, 19-50 years: 8 mg
Females, 19-50 years: 18 mg
Pregnancy: 27 mg
Lactation: 10 mg
Males, 51+ years: 8 mg
Females, 51+ years: 8 mg
How to ensure a multivitamin has enough Iron
If you’re in the market for a multivitamin with Iron, how do you choose the right one?
A good place to start is to have your blood tested by your healthcare provider. A simple blood draw can determine the levels of the mineral present in your blood. If they are too low, you may be prescribed an Iron supplement that contains more than a standard multivitamin until your levels are normalized.
If you don’t need a high-dose Iron supplement, then a regular multivitamin should be adequate for most people. An Iron-containing multivitamin typically delivers 18 mg of Iron. This meets 100% of the Daily Value of the mineral, which refers to the daily amount you should consume based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
The best way to determine whether a multivitamin has enough Iron is to understand whether you’re in a population that can benefit from supplemental Iron, whether you need a standard or high dose of Iron, and by reading the label to make sure it provides for those needs.
When to take your multivitamin
The ideal time to take a multivitamin is when it works best for your schedule, so that you’ll be able to take it consistently. Additionally, a multivitamin should be taken with food, preferably a meal that contains some fat, to help with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Some like to take theirs in the morning with breakfast to get set for the day, with their lunch, or with dinner. Additionally, supplemental Iron taken on an empty stomach can be irritating for some people, so if you find that you are sensitive, plan to take your multivitamin with your largest meal of the day.
If you are taking supplemental Iron outside of a multivitamin, then consider consuming Vitamin C at the same time — found in foods like citrus, bell peppers, tomatoes, and berries — as it can help increase Iron absorption.†
If you could benefit from a moderate dose of daily supplemental Iron, taking a multivitamin with Iron is an easy way to meet your needs. It will also provide an array of other vitamins and minerals to help bridge micronutrient gaps that may be present. Learn how to choose a multivitamin based on several factors that can influence daily requirements for different people.
Risks and side effects
Sometimes taking supplemental Iron can cause an upset stomach. This is more likely if the Iron dosage is too high or you’re taking it on an empty stomach.
Before adding an Iron-containing multivitamin to your routine, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure it’s appropriate. Be sure to take your Iron supplement with a meal to minimize digestive upset.
Who should and shouldn’t take them
Taking a multivitamin with Iron can be unnecessary for certain populations, particularly men, postmenopausal women, and individuals who have health concerns. Otherwise, an Iron-containing multivitamin may be beneficial for children, teens, and premenopausal women.
Additionally, individuals who consume a diet that may be limited in Iron-rich foods may benefit, such as a fully plant-based diet. In fact, the RDA for Iron for vegetarians is estimated to be around 1.8 times higher than that of omnivores.
A multivitamin with Iron is a great option for individuals who have higher Iron needs or a difficult time meeting them. Nature Made® has a line of Iron-containing multivitamins and standalone Iron supplements of varying dosages, such as the Multivitamin Tablets With Iron, which provide 18 mg per 1 tablet serving.
Piskin E, Cianciosi D, Gulec S, Tomas M, Capanoglu E. Iron Absorption: Factors, Limitations, and Improvement Methods. ACS Omega. 2022;7(24):20441-20456. Published 2022 Jun 10. doi:10.1021/acsomega.2c01833
Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on Iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(2):164-174.
Pawlak R, Berger J, Hines I. Iron Status of Vegetarian Adults: A Review of Literature. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016;12(6):486-498. Published 2016 Dec 16. doi:10.1177/1559827616682933
Lauren specializes in plant-based living and vegan and vegetarian diets for all ages. She also enjoys writing about parenting and a wide variety of health, environmental, and nutrition topics. Find her at www.laurenpanoff.com.
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.