Iron and vegetarian diets

Med J Aust. 2013 Aug 19;199(S4):S11-6. doi: 10.5694/mja11.11494.


Vegetarians who eat a varied and well balanced diet are not at any greater risk of iron deficiency anaemia than non-vegetarians. A diet rich in wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, iron-fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables provides an adequate iron intake. Vitamin C and other organic acids enhance non-haem iron absorption, a process that is carefully regulated by the gut. People with low iron stores or higher physiological need for iron will tend to absorb more iron and excrete less. Research to date on iron absorption has not been designed to accurately measure absorption rates in typical Western vegetarians with low ferritin levels.

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Humans
  • Iron, Dietary* / metabolism
  • Nutritional Requirements


  • Iron, Dietary