Best Iron Supplements
If you are feeling extra lethargic and tired with no specific reason you can point to, you may be iron deficient. This is especially so for women as the menstrual cycle can really deplete iron levels. In the United States, Iron is the most prevalent nutritional insufficiency with almost 10% of females lacking the appropriate amount. As an essential mineral, iron helps the body transport oxygen throughout. This is because iron is a critical component of hemoglobin which is found in red blood cells. If you are iron deficient, your not carrying enough oxygen to your lungs, which results in excessive weakness and fatigue.
Menstrual cycles, having a baby, giving blood or poor diets that lack iron-rich foods are some reasons why you might be iron deficient. Liver, beef, pork, spinach, lentils, raisins and molasses are just a few of the iron-rich foods you could add to your diet to help supplement an iron-rich regiment. A regiment that entails a change in diet as well as an iron supplement. There are quite a few high quality and highly effective iron supplements you can look for on the market that don’t require a doctor’s prescription. Below, we listed 10 and we reviewed them based on the metrics of side effects, forms of iron supplements, elemental iron, and manufacturer reputation.
- Works well for Anemia
- Pure Micronutrients
- No dyes or GMOs
- Nature’s Bounty
10 Best Iron Supplements
Iron supplementation can cause upset stomach after even just using for a little bit of time, let alone for the long term. Fergon causes much less gastric upset and nausea. Since so many people take iron daily, a brand that is formulated with less side effects is preferable. This supplement is widely prescribed by the medical community specifically for its gentleness on the stomach.
This supplement uses ferrous gluconate which is very easily incorporated and absorbed into the body. It is a top tier form of iron supplementation because of this fact. Many other brands on the market use ferrous sulfate which is very abundant in nature.
Cost and Value
This is a fine supplement that comes from a reputable company, and is widely prescribed by doctors. It is useful for athletes, women and people battling anemia. It comes at an affordable price, and the tablets are very easy to swallow which is important especially for those who have a tough time swallowing pills.
Pure Micronutrients offers their customers a “pure and natural” promise. They formulate their supplements without any magnesium stearate, dye, preservatives or artificial colors. They are also gluten, yeast, starch and dairy free. They contain no GMOs as well as no binders or fillers.
This company has high technical and research and quality ingredient standards. They use raw ingredients that they test independently for quality and purity before being used in manufacturing. They final products are tested for safety.
Cost and Value
This supplement can be used by both men and women who need iron. Pregnant and lactating mothers can use this to supplement the growth and advancement of her baby. For those who have blood loss such as a woman during her menstrual cycle or anyone who has just had surgery, and those who have Anemia can take this easy to swallow capsule.
- Manufactured in America
- Good for those with sensitive stomachs
- No GMOs
- No dyes
- Capsules are very easy to swallow
- Not a chewable
- Capsule made with gelatin
For those of you who must take large quantities of Iron, many opt to grind solid pills because they either have difficulty swallowing or don’t like the taste. These capsules will take the one extra step you need to take to get your iron in for the day out of the way. These capsules are easy use.
Will raise your iron levels
This pill will help your hemoglobin levels increase. The glycinate iron is much more easily absorbed into the body. This pill also is formulated with B12 and Vitamin C which, when used together, better help your body with absorption so this capsule can be very effective and fast acting.
Cost and Value
The attractive price and the formulation of ingredients will help your body absorb the supplement quicker so that it can get to work quicker. It is also made to be gentle on your stomach. It comes in a highly convenient capsule that appeals to anyone who has difficulty swallowing or doesn't like the taste/aftertaste of pills.
- Easy capsule
- Easy on the stomach
- B12 and Vitamin C in the formulation for faster absorption
- Increases hemoglobin levels
- Terrific supplement for pregnant and lactating mothers to support their baby’s development
- Great for women
- B12 is corn derived
- Drink good amount of water when swallowing
This is a tiny pill, which is always nice. This little capsule needs only be taken once per day and you will see the results of increased iron. To make it absorb faster take vitamin C. There are many tasty vitamin C drinks that you could use to make taking this pill not just effective but yummy.
Many companies in the supplement industry deal in excessive spam marketing. That is super overwhelming, but Solgar doesn’t. Their reviews are real, not paid for with free and reduced price incentives. High company integrity in business also leads to high integrity in product quality.
Cost and Value
Formulated to be easy on the stomach, you’ll likely not have any of the side effects like constipation with this capsule. It is a perfect option for vegans and vegetarians as well. It will definitely help you raises your iron levels, and is formulated with quality iron.
- Company with the highest levels of integrity
- Will raise iron
- Vegan and vegetarian friendly
- Can help with energy levels
- High quality, non-GMO made with food allergy considerations
- Supplementing with Vitamin C is helpful
- Shelf life could be better
Garden of Life
This pill will help you with your iron needs. It will also help you supplement your energy. But that’s not all, the formulation aids blood and heart health, immune health, reproductive health, eye health and mental health.
The formulation includes vitamin B12 and vitamin C which helps your absorb faster. Folate and Iron, obviously, as well as a raw probiotic and enzyme blend. It also contains organic fruits and vegetables, vegetable cellulose, brewer’s yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae, and lactobacillus bulgaricus.
Cost and Value
Garden of Life produces has a terrific reputation for producing incredible vitamins and supplements. This food and herbal based iron supplement is stomach friendly,using raw probiotics to aid in digestion. It is perfect for vegans and vegetarians. A fully formulated iron supplement so you don’t have do add anything else on your own when you take this one.
- Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
- Cabbage, broccoli and beets are some of the vegetables included in the ingredients
- Corn is not used
- 22 mg of iron per capsule
- Does not use soy as an ingredient
- Contains yeast
- Does not contain dietary fiber in the formulation
NOW is family owned and they do not have any shareholders, it is all in house. Their nich is formulating natural health products at a fair price. They have long standing relations with their suppliers and they put heavy investment into their research facilities and instruments so they can keep up with nutritional science and ensure quality is high.
A natural product manufacturing company that considers a multitude of sustainable processes. They are a partner of Terracycle, which is a recycling company located in the U.S. NOW’s relationship with Terracycle allows them to send toothpaste tubes, food and supplement pouches for recycling measures.
Cost and Value
NOW is a solid company with good business ethics and standards. The ferrochel iron bisglycinate is easily tolerable for people who have sensitive stomachs to iron supplementation. It’s greater bioavailability allows it to be much better absorbed than many other iron supplements. This supplement comes to you at an attractive price.
- Made in the USA
- 3 capsules offers 54 mg of elemental iron
- Good for both men and women
- GMP Quality Assured
- Can also be used to help those with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
- You must take it with food or milk
- Some people may experience an aftertaste
One of the best aspects of these pills is how they melt in the mouth, so there is no choking hazard to be worried about. The taste is geared towards picky children’s preferences while not using any sugar. Only natural flavors and sweeteners are used. These vegan, non-GMO tablets are gluten free.
Sugar is in everything, including some of our medicines. Sugar is the last thing we want in the supplement our children must have. Not to mention, the sticky mess they can make. Additionally, with only natural flavors and sweeteners, they will still be appealing to children while approved by parents. The tabs won't leave you with syrupy faces and hands full of staining artificial dyes.
Cost and Value
Renzo’s is a family-friendly company from manufacturing to the final product and they pay attention to the details that will attract children. They use high quality ingredients and make sure that they also take safety in to account. There are a couple of cute extras you get along with this medicine that is safe and gentle for your little lovey
- Made in FDA-approved family-owned laboratory
- Each box contains a cute note and fun stickers for kids
- Carbonyl iron used
- Formulated with vitamin C
- Child resistant safety cap
- Melt in your mouth tabs
- Kids can be super picky, for some the citrus can taste sour
- Some children may object to the texture of melt in your mouth tabs
Many competing brands of iron supplementation use poorer quality iron sources which are cheaper but almost always cause stomach irritation or nausea. They also use fillers and artificial chemicals, but this brand doesn’t use any of those things.
Easy to swallow
For those of you who have to take very high levels of iron swallowing all those pills can be tough. These pills have no taste and no burp factor to upset you and make you feel nauseous. They may even dissolve in your mouth before you have to swallow. Don’t worry, you don’t have to worry about a leftover residue in your mouth because of this nor will you have to worry about any dryer pills sticking to your throat or tongue.
Cost and Value
You get less stomach issues, and after taking them don’t be surprised if you feel less fatigued. They are economically priced for the 3 bottle bundle, which is extra pleasing since they aren’t using cheap and artificial ingredients.
- 50 mg tablets
- Each tablet is 125 mg in weight
- Priced well
- No fillers or artificial flavors or chemicals
- Can increase energy levels
- Small pill size
- Can have a chalky texture
Great for easing cramping
If you have suffered from excessive and constant cramping after physical activity or long times sitting, these pills will help alleviate that problem. Many people who have anemia have this problem if they are sitting too long or should they just want to engage in a longer workout. This supplement can aid your workouts so they can be longer and your recovery times can be far less.
Cost and Value
These easy to swallow, smaller pills pack a punch. You will find great results with better quality sleep and then waking feeling much more refreshed. They will help your energy in the day and they are easy on the stomach, no constipation or nausea.
- Great for men and women
- Made with Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B12, Beetroot, Stearic acid, Cellulose and Iron
- Can take on an empty stomach
- Helps with fatigue
- Fast turn around in effects
- Don’t take with coffee
- Two pills instead of one, but the sizing almost eliminate the problems of swallowing one bigger pill, so it would be up to preference
This supplement really rates well with those who battle Anemia. It won’t make you sick taking it for the long term and on a daily basis. It can build up your immune system and many doctors will recommend it to help supplement a healthful lifestyle.
Extended release capsules
You should take this pill with a full glass of water about 8 oz. unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Remember to try not to lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking your dose. This supplement uses extended-release capsules, so it is important you do not crush or chew them. This is because you would be releasing all of the supplement at once and that could potentially lead to side effects.
Cost and Value
This is attractively priced iron supplement that is easy on the stomach for most people. Ordering and shipping is effortless, it will come on time every time. It is doctor recommended and will improve your ferritin count.
- Fast shipping
- Priced well
- Painless on stomach
- Can be used for the long term
- Great for Anemia
- Not vegetarian
- Not the best for diabetics
If you have been diagnosed with an iron deficiency absolutely look at your diet first. Meats and seafood are terrific sources of iron and they absorb very in the body. You can try fortified cereals, leafy greens are particularly high in iron as well as dark chocolate, legumes and tofu. Try to eat as many of these foods as possible in every meal and that should help you with your deficiency.
If you are still in need of supplementation in addition to your iron-rich diet this list gives you a comprehensive review of the best over-the-counter options. Remember to include vitamin C both when you are eating iron-rich foods and when you are taking the supplementation to help with absorption. Remember that coffee and tea, and even calcium supplements can impede your body’s ability to absorb iron. Therefore it is best to try to take your iron supplement as far apart as possible from any ingestion of tea or coffee, and at space your calcium supplementation far apart from your iron intake as well.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation
Unfortunately, oral iron supplements can come with very undesirable gastrointestinal problems. You may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, indigestion, and get what many call the “burp factor.” Normally these are because of dosing and while you continue your regimen you should see a lessening in these side effects. If you gradually start with small doses and then work up to your larger dose you may be able to increase your body’s ability to tolerate the iron and that could help you with digesting it to avoid or decrease the side effects. Eating when you take your medication can help ease the symptoms the iron causes, but it also decrease the amount of the iron you are going to be able to absorb so that is certainly a consideration.
Forms of Iron Supplements
You have many different options to take iron. Iron can come in tablets, capsules, chewables, melt in your mouth, or be liquid form. Some iron supplements are formulated to be slow-release and these can be taken once daily and release the iron throughout the body throughout the day.
Tablets tend to be the most affordable option and they also tend to be better absorbed in the body. Liquids can be a terrific option for children as this is a preferred way for children to safely take the supplement. Tablets and capsules can be choking hazards and also super difficult for many small ones to physically be able to swallow in general. Supplements that are formulated to be slow release generally have far less side effects. This is because the amount of the supplement your body ingests is just a little quantity at a time. The big thing to remember with slow release is that you want to take them as is and not grind or pour out the contents of the pill because that could lead to greater side effects and toxicity.
Your personal preference comes into account. Some people have a hard time swallowing one big pill, so they’d prefer more pills that are smaller. They may also consider pills that melt in your mouth so swallowing isn’t an issue at all. Liquids can be sticky, and some can be made with dyes that have the ability to stain your teeth.
You will have your pick of oral iron supplements that are available in many different preparations for oral consumption. Most common, are ferrous salts and polysaccharide irons. Within every dose and every tablet or capsule, there will be different volumes of iron, and every type of iron has varying amounts of elemental iron. Elemental iron is the complete measure of iron in the supplement that is accessible for your body’s absorption.
Gastrointestinal side effects are the chief problem with iron supplements. Those supplements that use ferrous salts, which would be ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate and ferrous fumarate are very much inferior to those that use polysaccharides- which are an iron complex form. Ferrous gluconate is 12% elemental iron, while ferrous sulfate is 20% and finally ferrous fumarate is 33%. Ferrous salts have a much lower rate of assimilation and because they have low elemental iron levels you have to take more in dose or in amount of pills each day. When you take in ferrous salts, they release in the stomach. This will cause an extreme amount of discomfort and side symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation, even pain in the stomach.
Compared all of this with polysaccharides. These contain 43% elemental iron, significantly higher. Because they are so much higher in elemental iron, the do not require high doses or lots of pills, they can be easily taken with one pill per day. They don’t even meet the stomach as they are sent directly to the bloodstream so they are much easier on the stomach and mostly won’t cause any GI problems, but if they do, it is very minimal.
Looked at side by side, ferrous salts almost always cause an aftertaste whiley polysaccharides do not. Ferrous salts actually have the ability to stain your teeth, were as you won’t’ have to worry about that with polysaccharides. For GI irritation, you could have none or just some occasional issues with polysaccharides, but you will definitely have them with ferrous salts and they can be severe. Ferrous salts have a very low absorption rate while polysaccharides have a high rate of absorption.
Since you are not a scientist with a lab in your basement that can provide your own at home quality control on your medications, you have to trust and believe that what they are said to be formulated with they actually are. The supplement industry is full of over promised super pills and undeserving results. It takes time to read through ingredient lists and understand which ingredients are higher quality and which are the correct to look for.
With many companies engaging in aggressive spam marketing and scheming, it is helpful to know about the company in addition to the supplements formulation before you buy. Solgar is a great example of a company that takes customer service and high business ethics seriously. You want to know that when you order your supplement you will get a fresh supply, delivered on time as well as in good condition.
Other Important Factors to Consider
You can definitely allow your diet preferences to guide you when you choose an iron supplement. There is anything you could want from raw, to vegetarian and vegan supplements. So once you know your dosage and what ingredients you are looking for, you can decide what form you’d prefer. Then, you can decide if you have any dietary restrictions you want for the makeup of the supplement.
As you are determining the right supplement, give Polyride Fe and Polyride Fe Ultra Polysaccharide iron a thought. With 150mg of elemental iron, you can get yourself the top in dosage per pill that is on the market. These are clinically proven to work for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia and they come with no frustrating side effects.
Vitamin C works with iron by cutting it down to a state that allows it to have optimal solubility. Some supplements come already pre formulated with vitamin C to help improve absorption into the body. If your supplement does not, you may have to take vitamin C in pill or liquid form to get the most out of it.
Q: Is it safe to take iron during pregnancy and if so, how much?
Yes, it is safe to take but you should always check with your doctor before taking any type of supplementation when you are pregnant before you decide to move forward. That being said, non-pregnant women should look to about 18 mg of iron while pregnant woman should be taking 27 mg of iron daily. Iron is an essential part of your body’s ability to produce hemoglobin which transports oxygen throughout your body to your cells. When you are pregnant the extra iron is needed for that growing little baby and the placenta and is specifically important in the second trimester and third trimester.
Q: What does iron do for us in our body?
Iron is very important to proper functioning of our bodies. It not only carries oxygen throughout the other cells in our bodies, but it is a component of myoglobin which is how your muscles get their oxygen stock. It is an important part of collagen which you can find in bones and connective tissues and it is also important to countless enzymes. Last, it is a huge part of keeping your immune system strong and healthy.
Q: Can children take iron supplements?
Yes, children can take iron if they are deemed by their pediatrician to need it. There are iron supplements on the market, such as Renzo’s, that are made just for kids. It may be easier to have liquid or melt in your mouth forms of iron so that you avoid a choking injury and these also tend to be easier for little ones to take. A note of caution, however, iron can be very toxic to children, and there are many cases of overdoses reported each year. Monitor your child’s intake and make sure that your supplement has child proof tops or protections and is far out of reach of your child at all times.
Q: What time of day is best to take your iron supplementation?
The time you take your iron supplement can change based on when you eat. It should be taken on an empty stomach. That helps with better absorption. You should take your supplement with 8 oz of water or citrus juice. So you can take it first thing in the morning or about 1-2 hours after a meal. Children should drink with their supplement as well, offer 4 oz. to them.
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