This excellent iron supplement is effective and highly absorbable, and our nutrition expert notes that it's vegan friendly.
Made of Ferrochel iron that's easy to absorb and not likely to cause troublesome digestive issues. Capsules are easy to swallow and are made with quality ingredients. Vegan formula.
Although rare, some customers report minor constipation.
These are high on our shortlist for their value and high quality, though they do have lower amounts of iron than other supplements.
Also contains folic acid and vitamin B12. Promotes blood health, energy, and stamina. Gentle on the stomach. Non-GMO, and contains no artificial colors or preservatives.
Some wish the capsules were more potent.
Quality iron supplement also provides other micronutrients, making it suitable for vegetarians and those who are pregnant, according to our nutrition expert.
The recommended dosage is only 1 tablet per day and pills are fairly easy to swallow. Contains 65 milligrams of iron per dose. Reasonably easy on the stomach – most users reported few to no issues after taking it.
Pills taste bitter if you can't swallow them. Some eco-conscious customers expressed concern about the large bottle compared to the small pills.
Gentle and absorbable iron in a chewable tablet that’s great for both children and anyone who struggles to swallow pills.
Contains a gentle form of iron that is absorbable and without common side effects like constipation and metallic aftertaste. Single tablet dosage is chewable and tropical flavored. Vegan, non-GMO, and free of common allergens.
The flavor is not for everyone.
A great source of iron without the typical side effects of many other iron supplements, though they do contain lactose.
Made by an iron-focused manufacturer. Contains 65 milligrams of iron per tablet. Provides 360% of daily value. Tablets are very small and don't cause the stomach side effects that are common with iron supplements.
Contains lactose, so not appropriate for those allergic to dairy.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you find yourself feeling inexplicably drained and deflated, you could be lacking iron. Not getting enough of this essential mineral can cause weakness, dizziness, and both physical and mental fatigue. Insufficient iron levels can even affect immune responses, leaving your system vulnerable to illness and infection.
Fortunately, most cases of iron deficiency can be remedied either through dietary means or by taking an iron supplement. If you’ve been advised to add an iron supplement to your diet, you'll have no shortage of over-the-counter options to choose from.
In an ideal world, everyone would be able to obtain optimal concentrations of iron from dietary sources. Unfortunately, for a large swath of the population, this is easier said than done. If you suspect that your diet doesn't quite cut it or you fall into one of the categories outlined below, you might need an iron supplement.
Menstrual blood loss can deplete iron stores. Women who experience heavy bleeding are especially susceptible to developing iron deficiency anemia.
During pregnancy, daily iron intake requirements nearly double in order to facilitate the production of new oxygen-carrying red blood cells for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding also places an added demand on iron stores, and lactating moms need to be more vigilant about iron intake.
Calorie-controlled diets often make it harder to obtain sufficient amounts of iron from food.
Marathon runners and endurance athletes face a higher risk of losing iron through sweat. Because of the increased demand for oxygen throughout the body during physical activity, iron depletion can have noticeable effects on athletic performance.
Non-heme iron from plant sources isn't as easily absorbed as heme iron from meat. Vegetarians should take extra care to eat a varied diet packed with iron-rich foods and may find iron supplements helpful.
Antacids are known to reduce iron absorption.
The body compensates for blood loss by producing new red blood cells and needs iron to do so. Those who frequently donate blood can prevent or treat iron deficiency by taking an iron supplement.
Children often need additional iron to support rapid growth.
The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency aren't always apparent and can vary from person to person depending on factors such as severity and overall health. If you're not sure if you need an iron supplement, it's best to consult a healthcare professional. Some common symptoms of iron deficiency include the following:
Dizziness, weakness, and fatigue
Shortness of breath
Decreased ability to concentrate
Cold hands and feet
Painful or swollen tongue
Craving nonfood substances like ice, dirt, or chalk
Iron supplements come in many different forms, and choosing one can be nothing short of bewildering. We’ve listed some of the most common types of iron supplements to make your job a little easier.
Ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate are the most frequently prescribed iron supplements. Offering high concentrations of elemental iron and good bioavailability for a reasonable cost, ferrous iron salts are considered by many healthcare professionals to be the best treatment for iron deficiency and anemia. Unfortunately, the rapid absorption rate also makes ferrous iron more likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Some ferrous iron supplements are available in slow-release tablets to help combat unwanted side effects, but these typically also have a lower absorbency rate.
Ferric iron salts need to be broken down into soluble ferrous iron form before the body is able to use it. Because ferric iron has a lower absorption rate than ferrous iron, it generally isn’t a favored treatment for iron deficiency. However, ferric iron does seem to be easier on the stomach and might be an option for those who are unable to tolerate the side effects of ferrous iron and need an iron supplement purely to help maintain healthy iron levels.
Chelated iron consists of iron bound with amino acids to more closely resemble naturally occurring forms of iron. Because this type of iron dissolves in the intestinal tract rather than in the stomach, it bypasses the risk of causing gastrointestinal discomfort. In terms of bioavailability, chelated iron is as effective as ferrous iron, with fewer side effects. Chelated iron supplements are most commonly available as iron bisglycinate.
A relative newcomer to the world of iron supplements, carbonyl iron is a highly purified form of iron consisting solely of microparticles of elemental iron rather than a mixture of iron salts. This type of iron dissolves slowly in stomach acids. Although it offers a lower risk of iron toxicity and is less likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort, it doesn't necessarily have an edge over ferrous iron when it comes to treating iron deficiency.
Although heme iron peptides are generally classified as medical foods rather than supplements, we feel they still bear mentioning. Unlike other iron supplements, heme iron peptides are derived from meat sources to deliver naturally occurring heme iron — the most bioavailable form of iron. While this type of iron is the least likely to cause stomach upset, it costs significantly more than most other iron supplements. Heme iron supplements are not suitable for vegetarians.
Elemental iron refers to the iron your body uses. While the label on the front of the packaging often describes the total amount of iron in a supplement, you might need to check the supplement facts panel on the back to find out how much elemental iron it actually contains. Iron supplements with a higher elemental iron content provide higher concentrations of usable iron.
While it can be tempting to reach for a high-potency supplement, iron tends to be easier to absorb when taken in smaller doses. For this reason, it’s best to take an iron supplement that allows you to take two or three doses spread over the course of a day. Because iron-deficient adults typically require from 150 mg to 300 mg of iron per day, supplements containing around 65 mg of elemental iron per dose work well for most.
If it's your first time taking an iron supplement or you’re trying out a different formula, it might be best to test a smaller quantity first. We recommend test driving a month’s supply to see how well your body tolerates the supplement before investing in a larger quantity.
Iron supplement prices can vary dramatically depending on the form. You can expect to pay from $0.03 to $0.94 per tablet. While ferrous iron supplements generally start at around $0.03 per tablet, heme iron supplements can cost as much as $0.94 per pill. Chelated iron supplements typically range from $0.09 to $0.16 per tablet.
At the end of the day, any iron supplement with decent bioavailability and suitable concentrations of iron should work to combat iron deficiency. Unless you're sensitive to certain forms of iron or have been otherwise advised by a healthcare professional, there's really no need to pay an exorbitant price for an iron supplement.
Take ferrous iron with a snack to help reduce unwanted side effects.
Drink a glass of orange juice or take a vitamin C supplement along with your iron to help boost absorption.
Avoid tea or coffee shortly before or after taking your iron supplement because the tannins in these beverages can reduce iron absorption.
Avoid calcium, milk, and antacids for at least two hours before or after taking your iron supplement. These can interfere with iron absorption.
A. If you think you have symptoms of iron deficiency, it's best to visit a physician for a professional diagnosis. Your doctor will likely run some tests. After establishing the cause and severity of your iron deficiency, your physician will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment method and dosage for your age, gender, and lifestyle.
A. As important as it is to get enough iron, it's also possible to get too much of a good thing. Although the body self-regulates iron absorption, taking excessively high doses over a period of time can cause toxic levels of iron to build up in your system. For this reason, it’s crucial that you seek professional advice to establish the correct dosage before starting on an iron supplement.
A. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but don't double your dose. If you only remember that you've missed a dose an hour or two before the next is due, skip it and take the next dose as usual.