The amount of iron you need daily depends on your age, gender and, in some cases, your activity level. The recommended dietary allowance for women is 18 milligrams per day; for pregnant women that goes up to 27 milligrams per day. Men and postmenopausal women require 8 milligrams per day. Athletes may require 30 to 70 percent more iron daily because small amounts are lost during intense exercise.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that vegetarians naturally have lower iron stores than omnivores. This puts vegetarian women, especially, at risk of iron deficiency and iron-deficient anemia. If you are a vegetarian, aim for 14 milligrams per day if you're a man and 33 milligrams per day if you're a woman; vegans should get double the RDA. Never consume more than 45 milligrams per day. Speak to your doctor if you fear you may be iron-deficient and feel you may need a supplement.