If I take a multivitamin, why should I consider one without iron?

If you take a multivitamin, there are good reasons to consider one without iron. The body tends to hold onto extra iron -- and if you take too much, that can be dangerous. Over the long run, an excess may lead to liver damage and even diabetes. So if you’re already consuming a sufficient amount of the mineral, you may not need the extra dose in your multivitamin. Limit your intake to 45 milligrams a day. Men and postmenopausal women shouldn't take extra iron without telling their doctor.

If your doctor has told you that you do need extra iron, you should take it on an empty stomach, since that's how it's best digested. (You can also take it with a glass of orange juice, since vitamin C improves absorption.) If iron makes your stomach hurt, you may need to pair it with a small amount of food. Don't take it with milk, calcium or whole grains, all of which reduce absorption.

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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.