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Why should I take an iron-free multivitamin?

 The complete guide to multivitamins: what do they do?

Although we advocate getting all of your nutritional goodness from food, sometimes it’s just not possible. The fast pace of modern life, ever-increasing stress levels, pollution, soil nutrient depletion, and toxin exposure – these are just some of the reasons why hitting each nutritional note every day can be challenging.
And that’s where multivitamins come in. Multivitamins aren’t designed to surrogate healthy eating; rather, they simply act as an insurance policy to plug any nutritional gaps in your diet.
But as our nutritional needs change throughout our lives, so too do the multivitamins we use. And for many people, taking an iron-free multivitamin is the most appropriate choice for their life stage and nutritional requirements, especially because, for some, taking additional iron might not be necessary.

What happens if I take too much iron?

It’s important to remain within the nutritional guidelines for iron as iron is stored within the body and taking more than is required can lead to digestive unbalance and cause discomfort.
With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why you may consider choosing an iron-free multivitamin formula.

You’re a postmenopausal woman

Young women need more iron to account for the iron lost through menstrual blood each month. During a woman’s bleed, she loses around 1mg of iron. To prevent iron deficiency anaemia – a condition characterised by tiredness, pale skin, and heart palpations – women between 19 and 50 need 14.8mg of iron daily.
Once a woman reaches postmenopause – and all menstruation ceases – her iron needs drop to 8.7mg, which is often covered by diet alone, unless following a plant-based regime. That’s why choosing an iron-free multivitamin often makes more sense at this age.

You’re an adult man (over 18)

Men and women have different nutritional needs throughout their lives. Since men don’t lose iron-containing blood in menstruation each month, they’re less likely to develop an iron deficiency. That being the case, their iron requirements are much lower – around 8.7mg per day as opposed to 14.8mg – making an iron-free multivitamin a great option. 
Men may only need increased iron if they’re on a plant-based or vegetarian diet since highly absorbable iron (haem iron) mainly derives from meat, poultry, or fish. They may also need more iron if they’re building muscle or recovering from illness. In each of these cases, a standard multivitamin delivering 8.7mg iron would suffice.

You take another specialist product that contains iron

Taking an iron-free multivitamin is an excellent choice for those supplementing with another specialist product that contains iron, like NutriHair®. This product has been formulated with additional iron to support hair growth in women who experience increased hair shedding or chronic telogen effluvium (CTE). 

You have a sensitivity to supplemental iron

Though uncommon, it’s also possible that some people may have a sensitivity to iron, making an iron-free multivitamin a more appropriate choice.  
Sensitivities to supplemental iron may include:1

  • Abdominal or stomach pain

  • Constipation

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Metallic taste

  • Chest pain

  • Increased heartbeat

Still unsure whether an iron-free multivitamin is the best option for you? Please reach out to one of our expert Nutrition Advisors, who are always happy to offer free, confidential advice. Simply click the chat button located at the bottom right-hand of our website.
Aside from an iron-free multivitamin formula, you may also consider taking an iodine-free multi. Take a look at this article.
Learn more about our new Multi-Guard Iron Free formula here.


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Disclaimer: The information presented by Nature's Best is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.

Our Author - Keri Filtness


Keri Filtness has worked in the Nutrition Industry for 19 years. She is regularly called upon for her professional comments on health and nutrition related news. Her opinions have been featured by BBC3, Prima, Vitality, The Mirror, Woman’s Own and Cycling Weekly, amongst others. She has also worked one to one with journalists, analysing their diets and health concerns and recommending changes and additions, where appropriate.