Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, whose primary function is to carry oxygen present in the red blood cells throughout the body (1). It is also essential for growth and development. While it is naturally present in some foods, it is also available as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, tablets, and liquids.
Iron supplements are meant to be taken to replenish the iron levels in your body. This is one of the most common treatments for iron deficiency. However, treatment for an iron deficiency depends on its cause and severity. Generally, iron supplements are recommended for patients with iron-deficiency anemia or during pregnancy.
There are many causes of iron deficiency. Iron has many benefits for health, most of which can be achieved by consuming foods rich in iron. But you may need a supplement at times. If you are looking for a suitable iron supplement, we have the right list for you. Take a look!
Top 10 Iron Supplements Of 2019
1. Best Overall: MegaFood Blood Builder
Megafood Blood Builder is clinically proven to increase iron levels and reduce fatigue without causing any side effects. It is formulated with nourishing ingredients like beets and organic oranges, along with folic acid and vitamins C and B12. It provides 26 mg of iron per serving. The best part about this supplement is that it is gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach. The product claims to be safe for menstruating women, pregnant women, vegans, vegetarians, and athletes.
- Doesn’t cause constipation or nausea
- Maintains healthy red blood cell production
- Improves your energy levels
- Includes nutritious ingredients
- Made with farm-fresh whole foods
- Contains vitamins and minerals
- Maintains healthy blood pressure levels
2. Best For Pregnant Women: Nature Made Iron
This liquid iron supplement is formulated to help maintain healthy iron levels in individuals lacking adequate iron. It contains premium-quality ingredients that are selected under strict manufacturing processes. The formula is free of artificial preservatives, synthetic dyes, and gluten.
- USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) verified
- May help treat anemia
- Easy to swallow
- Does not cause constipation
- Reasonably priced
3. Best Vegan: Garden Of Life Vitamin Code Raw Iron
This vegan-friendly product contains ingredients that are grown using probiotic cultivation to produce raw food nutrients. They are produced below 115º F so that the nutrients are preserved. This product is exclusively a whole-food-based supplement. It is made without the high heat, synthetic binders or fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and additives. This supplement is a nutritious blend of 23 fruits and vegetables. It is the natural iron supplements that support the health of the blood, heart, eyes, immune system, and the reproductive system. It is easily digestible and doesn’t cause constipation.
- Certified vegan
- May help with anemia
- Contains vitamins C, B12, and folate
- Easily absorbed
4. Best For RBC Production: Zahler Iron Complex
Zahler Iron Complex is a blood-building heme iron supplement that contains all the nutrients required for hemoglobin formation. It contains ferrochel, which is the most effective form of iron. Along with that, it also contains vitamin B12 and folic acid. With suggested use, this ferritin supplement will improve the production of red blood cells. Overall, it is a gentle and non-constipating iron formula.
- Easily absorbed
- Easy on the stomach
- Uplifts your mood
- Keeps you active
- Improves the appearance of your nails
5. Great-Tasting: EZ Melts Iron Dissolvable Vitamins
If you are looking for a supplement that dissolves quickly, this is the product for you. It is not only fast-melting but also tastes fantastic. It is formulated with carbonyl iron and vitamin C. These ingredients are very safe yet effective. It helps fight off fatigue and provides a healthy balance for individuals dealing with anemia. With its citrusy and zesty orange flavor, these iron supplements are easy to swallow. EZ Melts are the best iron supplements for women.
- Zero sugar
- Includes natural flavors and natural sweeteners
- Digests quickly
- Non-constipating formula
6. Best For Athletes: Feosol Ferrous Sulfate High Potency Iron
This pharmacist-approved formula is highly effective for those who want to improve their iron levels. The formula contains ferrous sulfate, which is among the most widely recommended minerals by doctors. Ferrous sulfate is one of the safest and time-tested forms of iron. Each serving contains 325 mg of ferrous sulfate, which is equivalent to 360% of the daily value, making it a high potency iron supplement. This high quality iron supplement formula also contains other ingredients like lactose, sorbitol, crospovidone, triacetin, magnesium stearate, carnauba wax, hypromellose, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide. It is the best iron supplement for anemia.
- Contains 120 capsules
- A trusted brand for 7 decades
- Improves your system’s ability to absorb iron
- Reasonably priced
7. Best for Women: Enzymatic Therapy Ultimate Iron Supplement
Women lose a certain amount of iron each month during their menstrual cycle. In such cases, iron supplements can be of great help as they help support stamina and energy for the healthy production of red blood cells. One such product is the Enzymatic Therapy Ultimate Iron Supplement. It contains vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12, chlorophyllin, liquid liver fractions, and iron.
- Free of gluten, sugar, and wheat
- No artificial coloring or flavors
- Easily absorbable
- Boosts energy
- Contains soy
- Contains heme iron (comes from animal protein)
8. Easily Digestible: New Chapter Iron Food Complex
This supplement is easily digestible as it is presented in the fermented form. It is a whole-food-based iron supplement, which can be easily absorbed by your body. It builds blood and improves your energy levels with the help of an iron and five other essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, C, B12, and folate, and zinc. This product is ideal for women during pregnancy or menstruation. It is a non-constipating formula made with organic vegetables and herbs.
- Can be taken even on an empty stomach
- 100% vegetarian
- Free of artificial colors
9. Best Budget: Nature’s Bounty Iron Supplements
Nature’s Bounty iron supplements support red blood cell production. It helps fight fatigue and improves your energy levels. Each capsule contains 325 mg of ferrous sulfate.
- No artificial flavors or sweeteners
- Does not contain soy, milk, gluten or sugar
- Availability issues
10. Best Ingredients: Pure Iron-C Encapsulations
Pure Iron-C Encapsulation contains a highly bioavailable form of iron. It supports optimal muscle function and helps transport oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. Along with iron, it also contains vitamin C, which helps enhance intestinal absorption and supports red blood cell function for improved oxygen levels. The formula also contains other ingredients like hypoallergenic plant fiber and ascorbyl palmitate. It is the best iron supplement for women.
- Free of dairy and other animal products
- Easily absorbed
- Light on the stomach
- Improves your energy levels
Explore these iron supplements to improve your iron levels and rebuild energy in your system. But before you do so, please check with your health care provider. They will be able to recommend the right supplement for you.
Let us now understand who is at risk of iron deficiency.
Am I At Risk Of Iron Deficiency?
Iron deficiency is more prevalent among women. If you belong to any of the following groups, you may be at risk of iron deficiency. It is also common among the following groups of people.
- Women who menstruate
- Pregnant women
- People with gastrointestinal disease and inflammatory bowel disease
- People who have undergone gastric bypass operations
- People whose diet does not include enough iron-rich foods
- People with peptic ulcer disease
Though iron deficiency can be treated by iron supplements, there are a few concerns. They may have certain potential side effects.
Note: Before consuming these supplements, it is recommended that you consult your doctor and test your digestive function iron levels.
Side Effects Of Iron Supplements
The most common side effects associated with iron supplements are (2):
- Dark stools
- Stomach pain
However, constipation and dark stools are normal. They are signs that the treatment is working. But if you experience stomach pain, consult a doctor immediately.
Since iron plays an important role in the production of red blood cells, lack of it can result in anemia. But with iron supplements, you can combat iron deficiency in 3 to 6 months. However, before using these supplements, please consult your healthcare provider.
Have you used iron supplements before? How did you find them? Do share your experiences with us by leaving a comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Q: How much iron do I need?
A: The amount of iron you require each day depends on your age, sex, and health condition. Although the average daily recommendations are (3):
Adult women: 18 mg
Adult men: 8 mg
Teen girls: 15 mg
Teen Boys: 11 mg
Pregnant women: 27 mg
Q: How much iron is too much?
A: It depends on your body type, gender, and age. However, it is recommended not to take more than 45 mg of iron per day (3).
Q: Why do women need more iron during pregnancy?
A: When you are expecting, your body uses extra iron to produce blood for the baby. Therefore, women need more iron during pregnancy to compensate for this additional use.
Q: Which foods are rich in iron?
A: Iron is naturally present in most foods in very small amounts. But some foods like whole-wheat cereals, beetroot, and pulses are rich in iron.
- 12 Home Remedies To Cure Anemia – Symptoms, Causes, And Diet Tips
- How Iron Helps Hair Growth?
- 27 Foods That Boost Your Hemoglobin Levels
- Why Do You Need Folic Acid? What Are Its Benefits? What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Of It?
- Iron. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health.
- Taking Iron Supplements. Medline Plus. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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