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Dietary Iron Intake

Iron Levels in Diet

Television ads make it seem like we’re in big danger from not having enough iron in our diets. But should you be worried?

Low iron levels can be a serious health risk, but it generally doesn’t affect many Americans. In fact, Americans may be at risk of having too much iron.

Doctors in New Jersey recently conducted a study that found even elderly Americans – who often have conditions that cause low iron levels – have plenty of iron in their blood. Only about 3 percent of the thousand people surveyed had too little iron, while 13 percent had too much iron. Even when people had symptoms of anemia, doctors found they still had plenty of iron in their bloodstream. There were other problems that prevented the iron from being absorbed by the body.

Too much iron may be almost as bad as too little iron. Some studies have shown a link between excess stored iron in the body and conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say most Americans probably get plenty of iron in their diets from fortified grains, red meat and some vegetables. Pregnant women, women of childbearing age, vegetarians and people with certain medical conditions may need extra iron. Talk to your doctor to find out if you need iron supplements or if you’re getting all the iron you need.

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Folic Acid Needs When Pregnant
Iron Needs
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Nutrition for Expectant Mothers
Foods to Avoid When Pregnant
Nutritional Resources
How to Lose Weight After Pregnancy
How to Control Weight When Breastfeeding

SOURCE: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

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