17 Risky and Important Side Effects of Iron Supplements

Using iron supplements is a good way to treat and prevent iron deficiency anemias. However, there are some side effects of iron supplements that can cause a bit of trouble; it’s good that you are here. Besides the side effects of iron supplements, you’ll also learn about; iron-deficiency anemia, the safety of iron supplements, why some of them cause constipation, and which iron supplements don’t.

Note: This article named “17 Risky and Important Side Effects of Iron Supplements” was served after a throughout research on side effects of iron supplements. Still, we have to indicate that the content of this article should not be considered as medical advice. Please reach out to a professional health consultant, if you have serious health problems.

side effects of iron supplements

So, who is the risk factor for iron-deficiency anemia? Unfortunately for women, they are more affected by it. Especially for women who are pregnant (1) and women who have heavy menstrual periods (2) are in the high-risk group. Besides women; infants, children, and teens are also in that group.

If you are in the high-risk group, besides supplementation, there are several ways to prevent iron-deficiency anemia:

  • First of all, you should eat iron-rich foods, such as; lean meat, chicken, oysters, halibut, baked potato, spinach, broccoli, etc. Learn more about superfoods from this article 27 Super Foods for Weight Loss That Will Make You Lose Belly Fat Quickly!.
  • Solving digestive problems and heavy menstrual periods that make you lose more blood than usual are good ways to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Talk to your doctor to find a solution.
  • Be aware that drinking coffee or tea with your meal can make it harder for your body to absorb iron.

Besides the high-risk group, also people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (3) or the athletes who want to enhance their performance (4) may reap the beneficial side effects of iron supplements.

Are Iron Supplements Safe?

You may have concerns about the safety of iron supplements, don’t worry for most cases they are safe. Nevertheless, some instances make taking iron supplements unsafe. First of all, some iron supplements can cause stomach pain, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. If you suffer some of these problems and it’s impossible for you to take iron supplements without food, that’s alright, but still, you should know that iron can be absorbed better by your body when you have an empty stomach. At least, don’t take iron with dairy products, coffee, or tea.

Besides that, you should also be aware of how much iron you consume, if you got too much iron in your body, which causes Hemochromatosis (5). That’s why you should be extra careful with how much you consume if not this disorder can damage your vital organs such as; heart and liver. In fact, this can be one of the worst side effects of iron supplements you may face if you are not careful.

Also, taking more than the recommended daily dosage may cause iron poisoning (6).

Iron supplements are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as long as they take less than 45 mg per day. Also, you must be extra careful with how much your children consume iron, don’t let your child take iron supplements unless the doctor says so.

If you have diabetes, you may be jeopardizing your health by taking too much iron in your body. Please see a doctor before starting supplementation.

side effects of iron supplements

How Iron Supplements Work?

One of the side effects of iron supplements is helping the production of hemoglobin which is an ingredient in red blood cells. It carries oxygen from your lungs to your entire body, and if this oxygen is stopped because of iron deficiency, it may cause anemia to develop. (7)

Side Effects of Iron Supplements

Now let’s get to the side effects of iron supplements. Starting from the most common:

  • Constipation
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Black Stool

The rest is less common and rare symptoms of side effects of iron supplements.

  • Backache, muscle, or chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Faster heartbeat than usual
  • Having a fever
  • Headache
  • Metallic taste
  • Numbness at hands or feet
  • Skin rash and red skin
  • Swelling of mouth or throat
  • Problems with breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Also, be aware that liquid iron supplements may blacken your teeth.

Why Iron Supplements Cause Constipation?

Iron supplements may cause constipation if your body doesn’t absorb iron properly. Also, that iron that has been not absorbed by your body feeds the bad pathogenic bacteria in your gut and constipation indicates that it’s in there.

Also, the increasing number of ions in the stomach is one of the main reasons why people suffer from constipation and upset stomachs when they take iron supplements. This increase of ions in the stomach leads your body to draw more water from your gut to dilute ions. That’s why stools travel harder in your gut.

How can you relieve constipation without iron supplements?

First and foremost, drink a lot of water, this will lead you to visit the toilet more often.

Exercise and stay active during the day.

Eat fiber-rich food or take fiber supplements. Check our list of 7 Best Supplements for Fiber that Will Make You Slimmer.

Also, eat food that is easier to consume. In fact, it would be great if you can avoid wheat products, cheese, and meat.

Which Iron Supplements Don’t Cause Constipation?

There are several iron supplements without constipation effect, and we recommend the supplements below. Besides our judgment also, the reviews from the users indicate that these supplements don’t cause constipation. Nevertheless, it depends on you and your doctor’s decision to choose which iron supplement is the best for you.


As the name suggests, Solgar Gentle Iron is gentle on your body; it doesn’t make you constipated and upset your stomach. As you know, these are some of the most common side effects of iron supplements. Also, compared to other iron supplements, this has enhanced absorption formulation.

Besides that, the vegetable capsules make this supplement; vegan, gluten, and dairy-free—also, it’s free of; sugar, sweetener, sodium, artificial flavor, and color.

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Remember, nausea is one of the most common side effects of iron supplements; well, MegaFood’s Blood Builder is clinically proven to raise energy levels without nausea. Also, constipation will no longer be a problem for you.

Besides 26 mg of iron, this supplement also has folic acid and B12 to help the production of red blood cells, hence the name “Blood Builder”.

This supplement can be used by pregnant women, teenagers and also vegans, and vegetarians.

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Garden of Life’s Vitamin code is much more than a simple iron supplement. Besides 22mg of iron, it also has; vitamins c and b12, and folate, which helps the iron absorption. This supplement has a raw probiotic and enzyme blend to help digestion.

Also, Vitamin code iron supplement is made from 23 raw fruits and vegetables. This makes this supplement; vegan, gluten and dairy-free. If you are looking for a comprehensive iron supplement made of actual fruits and vegetables, Vitamin Code should be your choice.

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This supplement is much cheaper compared to others on the list because it’s an Amazon product, but cheap doesn’t mean bad. In fact, it has 195 capsules which means 6 months of iron supply, and also a great supplement to help your body produce red blood cells.

It doesn’t have any artificial colors, flavors, and chemical preservatives.

Finally, just like all of the iron supplements in this list, this is also vegan and gluten-free.

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Conclusion

Iron is essential for your body’s health; it helps the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen.

You must know the side effects of iron supplements before taking any. If not, you may suffer from constipation, stomach pain, vomiting, or iron poisoning. In fact, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist to learn how much iron you should take.

However, you may eat iron-rich foods instead of supplementation. Choose to take supplements only when eating is not enough, and your doctor suggests you take iron supplements.

Thank you for reading.

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17 Risky and Important Side Effects of Iron Supplements

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