Can You Overdo It with Too Much Iron?

Jul 06, 2022

In nutrition, it’s important to know what is the maximum of a nutrient that can be taken. Just because a nutrient is needed for survival and good health doesn’t mean that it’s better to overload on it.

The upper limit for those who are between the ages of 14 and 18 years old is 45 mg/day. This includes those who are pregnant and breast-feeding as well. The upper limit for younger children is 40 mg/day.

However, if someone is being treated with iron by their doctor, this upper limit may be higher.

A Warning to All Moms

Keeping your supplements out of reach of children is always important. The single largest cause of poisoning in children under age six leading to death is from iron overdose. It’s of course an accidental overdose but it still can cause death. Usually this happens when the child takes a significant number of multivitamins containing iron in them.

It doesn’t take much to get to toxic levels for a child, especially if the child drinks a liquid iron formula. Take a look at the chart below to see this.

Child’s weight Toxicity Seen with This Iron Level


One ferrous sulfate tablet contains about 60 mg iron, and the normal dosage for iron deficiency anemia in prescriptions is three times daily. Ferrous fumarate in liquid form contains 140 mg iron per spoonful. Ferrous fumarate capsules are 305 mg.

Symptoms of an Overdose of Iron

The symptoms that first occur in an accidental overdose are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, weak and rapid pulse, tarry stools, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, fever and coma.

The symptoms may lessen in the next day but return 12 to 48 hours after ingestion. At that time, organ failure may be occurring in the heart, kidney, blood, nervous system, and liver. There may be long-term damage that develops within a few months if the child lives.

Natural supplements such as Flora Iron™ with B Vitamin Complex is a much lower dosage of only 9 mg iron as ferrous gluconate. This liquid supplement is meant for adults and contains about 22 doses, or 198 mg iron, still enough for a toxic overdose of your baby or young child.

Floradix is another tablet form of iron from the same company and contains 10 mg iron per tablet and one bottle contains 80 tablets or 800 mg iron total.

Remember, iron overdose in an adult, child, or baby is always a serious emergency and needs medical intervention.


Iron. Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University. Micronutrient Information Center.