Iron In The Body


How Much Iron is in the Body?

Males of average height have about 4 grams of iron in their body, females about 3.5 grams; children will usually have 3 grams or less. These 3-4 grams are distributed throughout the body in hemoglobin, tissues, muscles, bone marrow, blood proteins, enzymes, ferritin, hemosiderin, and transport in plasma.

The greatest portion of iron in humans is in hemoglobin. Except in cases of great blood loss, pregnancy, or growth spurts, where larger amounts of iron are required, our bodies only need about 1 to 1.5 milligrams of iron per day to replace what is lost. Normal daily loss of iron excreted through urine, vaginal fluid, sweat, feces, and tears total about 1-1.5 milligrams, or the equivalent of what most of us require per day to function normally.

Nature provides for these periods of increased iron needs by stepping up the amount of iron that is absorbed. This very 

elaborate regularly system can be observed in females who are menstruating, who will naturally increase the 1.5 milligrams that she usually absorbs up to 3-3.5 milligrams to replenish her iron stores.

An unborn child in the third trimester and right before birth gets a tremendous amount of iron from the mother. This vast store of iron is in preparation for a spectacular period of rapid growth and will assure adequate iron is available for the first six months of life. For this reason newborns and infants have exceedingly high serum ferritin and transferrin-iron saturation percentage (TS%.)

Too little iron or too much iron changes the way we grow, develop and function.

Next page: iron level tests

Iron Tools

Explore life-saving resources

Utilize tools that patients rely on every single day.

Support group

Reading Room

Forms & Charts


Videos About Iron

Real Stories. Real Patients. 

Gerry Koenig - The Dangers of Misdiagnosis

Christine O'Leary - A Family Story

Explore all articles

Order Iron Tests

Simple and Secure

This iron blood test panel measures the hemoglobin, ferritin, fasting serum iron, TIBC (total iron binding capacity) and transferrin levels.

Order Now

Learn About Our Sponsors

In keeping with the Iron Disorders Institute governing policy, our sponsors have been selected based on their alignment with our mission and vision.

Copyright 2020. Iron Disorders Institute. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.