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When should men take iron supplements?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
Many experts shy away from any iron supplementation for men. That's because men -- like women who no longer menstruate -- aren't typically losing much iron. For that reason, supplements aimed specifically at men generally reduce iron or drop it from the formula. This can help prevent iron overload, which can stem from taking more iron than necessary through supplements. Iron overload may also occur because of a common genetic defect that occurs more often in men than women. Iron overload can damage the liver and other body tissues, raising the risks for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and liver cancer.
Men do not need to take iron supplements unless they have a history of anemia (low red blood cell count), low blood iron, chronic bleeding or lack of iron in their diet. If you think you may need to take an iron supplement, discuss this with your doctor and do so only under his or her supervision.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.