Why do women need more iron than men?
Iron is essential to life for both men and women; it helps reduce tiredness and fatigue, as well as playing an important role in normal energy metabolism, oxygen transport, cognitive function, immune function and formation of red blood cells. However, iron is especially important to women – particularly those of reproductive age – as women need up to twice as much daily iron as men.
Menstruation is the most common cause of iron loss worldwide. On average, women lose around 220 to 250 milligrams of iron per pint of blood during each menstrual cycle (the total loss of blood can be up to half a pint). As such, it is particularly important for woman of child bearing age to meet their daily iron intake However, this may be difficult to achieve through diet alone
Pregnancy also impacts the overall iron content in a woman’s body. As a woman’s blood volume increases when she’s expecting, dietary iron requirements can also rise especially in the second and third trimesters. This is because the body uses iron to make hemoglobin to transport oxygen to other cells; if a woman doesn’t get enough iron, the body may find it difficult to produce the correct amount of red blood cells it needs to make this additional blood. Women who experience morning sickness or who are carrying more than one child may need more iron than they can ingest from diet alone.
It’s important to remember that even if a woman makes a conscious effort to ingest more iron from food, it still may not be sufficient to meet the daily requirements. There are two different types of iron found in food, heme and non-heme iron. While heme iron – – is found in animal proteins, most health authorities recommend a safe upper intake of just 500g of red meat per week. Furthermore, non-heme iron – which is found in plants, nuts and legumes – is absorbed at a much lower rate. Also, other daily habits like drinking tea and coffee after your meals can further reduce your iron intake, due to the tannins present in these beverages.
Although food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and healthy lifestyle, if you can’t imagine sacrificing your morning brew but still want to achieve an optimum iron level, integrating an iron supplement into your life like Active Iron may help. As Active Iron targets the natural site of absorption and delivers just the right amount of iron when you need it, it may help women who need to support their iron intake but struggle with the negative side-effects of traditional products; Active Iron is kind enough to take on an empty stomach while doubling the amount of iron absorbed compared to Iron sulfate.