The body of an adult man closes about 4 g of iron (and 2.5 g for adult women). Iron plays an essential role in many biological functions. It is involved in the formation of hemoglobin (red blood respiratory pigment which ensures gas exchange with the external environment), myoglobin (trained reserve of muscle oxygen) and enzymes play a role innumerous metabolic reactions.

Only a small fraction of the iron consumed is actually absorbed (about 10%). The originality of iron metabolism is that it occurs almost closed circuit. The pool of iron in the body is constantly renewed: iron used in the synthesis of hemoglobin is recovered after the destruction of red blood cells and reused. Very small amounts of iron are still eliminated (1-2 mg per day) and must be compensated by food.

Iron stores (30% of total iron) are stokées in the liver, spleen and bone marrow.

Sources of Iron

See the list of foods that provide the most Iron


The 100% value in the ANC Nutritiomètre ® is 9 mg per day for an adult male, and 16 mg per day for a menstruating woman.

Excess iron, especially in the presence of vitamin C may increase oxidative stress due to the reactivity of iron production and the production of free radicals. The bycatch of large doses of iron (more than 3 g of iron compounds) may be responsible for acute lethal poisoning.

Dose safety limit is 28 mg per day. To facilitate this management, the value ANC 200% Nutritiomètre ® is considered the limit.

(Source: "Recommended dietary allowances for the French population," the CNERNA-CNRS. Edition coordinated by Ambroise Martin.))