Different Types Of Iron Supplements and Which one is best for you

Iron is a vital component of the hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Maintaining adequate levels of iron in the body is important for a healthy life, as its deficiency can lead to many chronic diseases.

The helter-skelter lifestyle has deteriorated our eating and drinking habits. So, we are not able to get sufficient amounts of nutrients from the food we eat and depend on supplements. The demand for Iron supplements for adults has gradually increased over the years. This is because many people become victims of anemia.

Types of Iron Supplement

  • Oral Iron Supplement

The oral iron supplement comes in pills, tablets, drops, and capsule forms. It helps to treat anemia by increasing the level of iron in hemoglobin. For these, you don’t require a doctor’s subscription.
Here are different kinds of oral iron supplements –

  1. Ferric citrate
  2. Ferric sulfate
  3. Ferrous sulfate
  4. Ferrous gluconate

These supplements contain different amounts of elemental iron. The higher the percentage of elemental iron in the supplement, the more the iron absorbed by the body.

For instance, Ferrous gluconate contains 12% elemental iron, ferrous sulfate contains 20% elemental iron, ferrous formulate contains 33% elemental iron. Therefore, ferrous formulate is the richest source of elemental iron in them.

But it’s not just about the quantity of iron, you should take such iron supplements that contain ample amounts of elemental iron and with this, it can be tolerated by your body. 

Experimental results show that Ferrous sulfate is the best source of iron that can be easily absorbed by the body and results in very little gastrointestinal and other problems.

The iron supplements taste metallic, so children often don’t like to eat them. 

Therefore many companies have developed various flavored chewable iron supplements for kids, which are easily available in the market.

Here are some side effects, which can take place due to excessive oral iron intake.

  1. It may cause constipation
  2. Results in dark stool
  3. Feel like heartburn
  4. Change in taste buds
  5. Vomiting or nausea
  6. Difficulty in breathing
  7. Continuous hand and feet aches
  8. Increase in heart rate
  • Intravenous Iron Supplements

Many people are unable to take iron supplements orally because of various reasons, so intravenous infusion is required. In this method, iron is injected in the vein with the help of a syringe. 

In the following cases, iron is given in Intravenous form

  1. If the person’s body is not able to absorb it in oral form.
  2. If a person experiences blood loss due to an accident.
  3. If the gestational tract is not working well.
  4. If the level of iron is to increase very rapidly due to a medical emergency.

Different types of Intravenous iron supplements are -:

  1. Iron sucrose
  2. Iron Dextran
  3. Ferric gluconate

The intravenous iron supplements are not given without the subscription of a physician and are suggested during the adverse event.

Here are the side effects of taking iron in Intravenous form -:

  1. Rashes and other skin problems
  2. Chest pain
  3. Low blood pressure
  4. Gestational issues
  5. Swelling in the face, arms, and legs
  6. Muscles and joints pain

Important things to note for infusion treatment -:

  1. Do not skip your lunch or breakfast
  2. Take your medication properly
  3. Be mentally prepared for drip infusion
  4. Seek help in case of hostile reaction

Intravenous iron supplementation can help a sick person to raise the body’s iron content to optimal levels. But it should always be taken under the supervision of a doctor. Because only he knows about which supplement best suits you and increases and decreases the dose according to your body’s tolerance. This procedure is very lengthy and a person has to visit several times to the doctor for treatment.


Iron deficiency can cause anemia, so it is very important to take iron supplements to avoid it. Oral iron supplements are cost-effective and have less side effects as compared to intravenous one.


Paul M. White

I am a Registered Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition and believes that anyone can spend their lives smoothly by relying on the best nutritional products.

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