Iron is naturally present in many foods and can also be found in iron-fortified foods and dietary supplements.


Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and non-heme iron.

They are found in different food sources and are absorbed differently within the body. 

As a result, dietary habits and lifestyles play a vital role in determining the amount of iron intake, the potential for iron deficiency and the need for iron supplementation. 

Iron Sources

Heme Iron
  • Derived from hemoglobin so only found in animal based diets

  • Makes up 40% of the iron found in meat, fish and poultry

  • More bioavailable so the body absorbs the most iron from heme iron sources

Non-Heme Iron
  • Found in both animal and plant food products

  • Makes up 60% of the iron found in meat, fish and poultry

  • Makes up all the iron found in fruits, vegetables, dried beans, nuts, grains and iron-fortified foods

  • Is less bioavailable, and is therefore not as easily absorbed by the body

  • Vegan diets only contain non-heme iron sources. So iron requirements for both vegans and vegetarians are as much as 1.8 times higher given the level of iron absorption found in diets high in non-heme iron. 


Seaford Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
28-1530 Drew Road
Mississauga, Ontario
L5S 1W8


T: (905) 673-5893
TF: 1 (888) 292-3192



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