Do vegans have a higher risk of iron deficiency?

The reason for the satisfactory iron status of many vegans may be that the foods commonly consumed are high in iron, as shown in Table 1. Some might expect that because the vegan diet contains a form of iron that is not as well absorbed, vegans might be prone to developing iron deficiency anemia. Iron absorption is greatly enhanced if vitamin C-containing foods are consumed along with iron-containing foods. As for dairy, I also wanted to add that it’s not just that vegans substitute iron-containing plant foods for dairy and eggs, but that dairy is fortified with calcium and high calcium intake decreases iron absorption when consumed together.

In addition to government-mandated iron fortification of staple foods, which is practiced in many developed and developing countries, some countries allow food manufacturers to practice voluntary food fortification programs. There is a misconception that a vegan diet lacks iron; however, vegans are no more likely to develop iron deficiency anaemia than the general population. It’s a good idea to combine these iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, as vitamin C helps the body use iron. But now that I eat a large number of the foods listed on the iron-rich foods list, I feel like I should give blood donation another chance because, after all, you are saving someone’s life.


About Mark Miller

I'm Mark, and I am one of the two faces behind CodeVegan. I co-founded CodeVegan alongside Lila. To give you a little background, my journey here hasn't been an easy one. So, for all of you out there struggling, I've been there. You're not alone! Like many of you, I grew up a meat-eater, but I soon realized the impact this had on the world. I've been a vegan for the last ten years, and life has never been better. It takes time to adjust, but it's worth it in the end. Now, my lifestyle choice is an integral part of who I am. In my early days, there wasn't much in the way of information either, so with this blog, I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to you.