Intake Recommendations

In 1993, the European Scientific Committee for Food set population reference intakes (PRI) for iron in milligrams (mg) per day (22):

Age   Males: mg/dayFemales: mg/day
 6–12 months66
 1–3 years44
 4–6 years44
 7–10 years66
 11–14 years1018
 15–17 years1317
 18 years and older915 - 20* 

* To compensate for menstrual iron losses in women of reproductive age.

** To compensate for increased iron need in pregnancy.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board has established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron, based on the prevention of iron deficiency and maintenance of adequate iron stores in individuals eating a mixed diet (11):

 Life Stage  Age Males: mg/dayFemales: mg/day 
 Infants0–6 months0.27 (AI)0.27 (AI)
 Infants 7–12 months1111
 Children  1–3 years77
 Children 4–8 years1010
 Children9–13 years88
 Adolescents14–18 years1115
 Adults 19-50 years818
 Adults51 years and older88
 Pregnancyall ages-27
 Breast-feeding18 years and younger-10
 Breast-feeding19 years and older-9

As the estimated bioavailability of iron from a vegetarian diet is only 10%, while it is 18% from a mixed diet, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron from a completely vegetarian diet should be adjusted as follows: 14 mg/day for adult men and postmenopausal women, 33 mg/day for premenopausal women, and 26 mg/day for adolescent girls (11).

For a detailed overview of recommended daily intakes (PRIs/RDAs) of vitamins and minerals for adults derived from different countries and organizations see PDF.