Best Iron Supplements Ranked for 2018 – Top 10 Brands

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Jump Ahead to the Best Iron Products

When it comes to staying healthy and living life to the fullest, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind. Obviously, diet and exercise are the most important factors to overall health. Without a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, you will struggle to maintain adequate physical health.

However, health goes beyond diet and exercise. The human body needs adequate levels of certain key nutrients in order to function properly. If you eat healthy, the majority of these nutrients will be obtained from your daily diet. But for those nutrients that are harder to get from your diet, you may need to consider adding a supplement.

While multivitamins can cover most of the bases, sometimes it’s necessary to add a specific supplement to your diet. Iron is one of the most common individual nutrient supplements that are needed. Iron is essential to good health, and it’s one of those things that’s difficult to obtain in adequate amounts from your diet (unless you eat a TON of spinach!)

Today, we’re here to talk about iron vitamin supplements. Adding an iron tablet to your diet can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, which we’ll cover further down the page. For now, let’s talk about the basics!

What Are Iron Supplements?

Iron supplements are, quite simply, tablets or capsules that contain the mineral iron in digestible form. Now, when you first think about “iron”, you may think about a chunk of solid metal. But don’t worry, you won’t need to gnaw on a hunk of metal in order to get your daily iron requirement! Good iron supplements come in easily digestible forms, with microparticles of the mineral that are absorbed easily in the body.

With that being said, there are some specific ways to increase the absorption rate of iron supplements. We will go over those tips in detail further down the page.

Many multivitamins contain iron in decent quantities. Many people will get adequate iron from their daily diet and/or their multivitamin. However, certain types of people may need significantly more iron than the average person. Also, those with restrictive diets may need to add an effective iron supplement in order to increase natural intake levels. For those who don’t get enough iron naturally, adding a supplement can provide many benefits.

Benefits of Iron

Iron is an essential nutrient for human life, and a lack of iron in the system can lead to various health problems. Iron deficiency anemia is the world’s most common nutritional deficiency, and is most common in women of childbearing age and children.

Taking a top iron supplement can help reduce some of the negative effects that iron deficiency can have. In other words, iron supplements won’t provide much benefit if you get adequate iron already, but if you’re one of the millions of people suffering from iron deficiency anemia, adding an iron supplement can provide plenty of benefits.

It is estimated that several hundred million people suffer from iron deficiency anemia, including 5 million+ in the United States. If you believe you may have it, talk to your doctor about adding a strong iron supplement to get you back on track.

Who Can Benefit From Iron?

A wide range of people can experience benefits from taking a good iron supplement. The following groups will see the most benefit:

  • Those with iron deficiency anemia – millions suffer from this common nutritional deficiency, and it can cause serious health issues ranging from fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and much more. Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by menstruation, peptic ulcer disease, cancer in the digestive tract, blood loss, gastrointestinal bleeding, and more. Many people simply do not get enough iron in their daily diets, which can lead to health problems. It’s easy to add an effective iron supplement to combat these health risks.
  • Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant – the daily recommended intake for the average women who is not pregnant is 15-18mg of iron. For pregnant women, that recommendation rises to 27mg daily according to the National Institutes of Health. Ensuring you get enough iron during pregnancy (and while you’re nursing) will help improve your own health as well as the health of your child.
  • Women who menstruate – according to a report from the CDC, approximately 9% of women ages 12-49 have iron deficiency. This is largely attributed to the fact that menstruation depletes iron stores in the body.
  • Athletes – anyone who exercises on a regular basis may need significantly more iron than the average individual. Some health experts say that athletes require as much as 30% more iron than the typical person.
  • Those with regular blood loss – iron is stored in the blood, so anyone who loses significant amounts of blood on a regular basis is at risk for low iron levels. This could include anyone who donates blood regularly, or anyone who has gastrointestinal bleeding due to a medical condition and/or complication of medicine.
  • Those with unhealthy diets – many people get sufficient levels of iron from their daily diets. However, those who don’t consume enough of the iron-rich foods like shellfish, beef, turkey, lentils, beans, and spinach are at risk for iron deficiency.
  • Vegetarians & vegans – many of the best sources of iron in foods are found in meat products. If you do not eat meat, you will find it harder to get adequate iron levels from your diet alone.

As you can see, there are many reasons to take an iron supplement. These are the groups of people that are most likely to benefit from the best iron supplements, but it’s completely possible that you suffer from iron deficiency even if you don’t fit into one of the categories above.

How Should You Take Iron?

Iron supplements can be taken like normal vitamins, however, there are some ways that you can increase the absorption rate. First of all, iron should be taken on an empty stomach. Having too much food in your stomach when you take your iron tablet can cause some of the iron to not be absorbed properly. Therefore, we recommend taking your supplement on an empty stomach.

Some people may experience minor stomach discomfort when taking a supplement on a completely empty stomach. If you find this to be the case, you can try eating a bit of food before taking your pill.

There are certain types of foods that can interfere with iron absorption. These include high fiber foods, such as raw veggies, bran, and whole grains, and anything containing caffeine. In addition, it’s been shown that milk, antacids and calcium supplements can interfere with iron absorption, so do not consume these items at the same time as your iron pill.

Some health professionals also recommending taking your iron pill with a glass of orange juice or taking a vitamin C supplement at the same time. This can help improve absorption rates. Many of the best iron supplements (see below) contain vitamin C already.

Before you begin taking an iron supplement, you should speak with your doctor – especially if you’re on medication. Iron can interfere with some medications, so it’s important to tell your doctor about every medication you are taking before you begin iron supplementation.

As for the amount you should take, you can speak to your health professional to get a tailored prescription. Iron supplement dosage varies depending on your needs and your current iron level. You can also reference this list, which shows you the daily recommended intake for various age groups and sexes.

Are There Any Side Effects?

For the majority of people who take iron supplements, there will be few, if any, side effects. However, serious side effects can occur if you take too much iron, if you have certain medical conditions, or if you take certain medications. For these reasons, it’s important to consult a medical physician before continuing. Iron tablets side effects can range from mild to severe, depending on the circumstances.

Excessive iron consumption can have some fairly serious side effects, so it’s important to not take too much. Before beginning taking iron, you should talk to your doctor. Taking an iron supplement is ONLY necessary if your iron levels are low. Taking too much iron can cause problems, such as:

  • Stomach upset – excessive iron can cause upset stomach symptoms, including pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some people will experience minor stomach discomfort when taking iron, even if their iron levels are low or normal.
  • Constipation – constipation is a fairly common side effect of iron supplements, whether they are taken in excess or not. Lower-quality brands will use cheaper iron sources, which are more likely to cause constipation. To avoid this side effect, only buy high-quality iron supplements (see our list of the top 10 iron supplements below).

To avoid side effects, there are a few things you can do. First, talk to your doctor about dosage amounts and determine whether an iron supplement is a good fit for you. Second, only buy high-quality iron supplements. Third, do not take more than the recommended dose (unless otherwise instructed by your doctor). Lastly, take special precaution if you are pregnant, or if you have diabetes, intestinal ulcers, Crohn’s disease or hemoglobin disease. These conditions can be negatively affected by iron supplements, so talk to your doctor.

Also, remember that iron can interfere with certain medications. If you are currently taking ANY prescribed medicine, speak with a medical professional before adding an iron supplement to your diet. Complications can range from mild to severe, so please, don’t take the risk!

What Should You Look For in a Good Iron Supplement?

As with just about anything nowadays, there are a ton of options when it comes to choosing from top iron supplements. We’ve already put together our list of the top 10 iron supplements available, which you can find below. In order to select the best iron supplement for your wants and needs, there are several factors you should consider, including:

  • Type of iron used – there are several types of iron used in supplements. Generally speaking, you’ll want to stick to iron bisglycinate, iron ferrous bisglycinate, or iron bisglycinate chelate. These types are the easiest to digest, and the least likely to cause stomach upset and other problems.
  • Amount of iron – check how much iron is contained in each serving. Generally the amount will range from 20-30mg of iron per serving. You should speak with your doctor about how much additional iron you need in your diet, based on your current level of iron and your diet.
  • Other nutrients included – is the supplement just iron, or does it offer something else? Most commonly, you’ll find added vitamin C, B vitamins, and folate/folic acid. These ingredients are added because they increase the positive effects of iron, primarily by helping the body to absorb more of the needed mineral. If you choose a product that’s only iron, that’s fine, but you’ll want to consider taking it alongside a vitamin C capsule or a glass of orange juice.
  • Brand quality – have you heard of the brand? Are they well known and reputable? We only recommend products from respectable companies in our list below, but if you choose to shop elsewhere, just be sure to do your research before making a purchase.
  • Value – price shouldn’t be your main concern, as you’ll want to go with a quality product, but you’ll still want to pay attention to the price of the supplements you’re considering. Remember to compare prices based on per serving amounts, not on just the price of each bottle of pills. Generally, iron supplements are fairly affordable, ranging from maybe 5 cents to 30 cents a capsule.

Top 10 Iron Supplements Compared

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1. MegaFood Blood Builder Tablets

MegaFood-Blood-Builder-Tablets

Blood Builder Tablets are the best iron supplement on the market for a number of reasons. This specially formulated product is designed to provide iron and give you an energy boost. By combining iron with food-derived vitamin C and beet root, the makers of this product have developed a formula that allows for optimal iron absorption, and therefore optimal health effects.

Highlights:

  • Contains 26mg iron
  • Counters the effects of iron deficiency
  • Contains vitamin C derived from organic oranges (helps increase iron absorption)
  • Easy to digest
  • Whole food derived
  • High quality ingredients
  • Also includes folate and B12
  • Affordable
  • Overall, the top iron supplement available

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 26mg iron (144% daily value) – a solid dose of iron helps counter the effects of iron deficiency, and provide extra energy
  • 15mg vitamin C (derived from organic oranges) – helps boost the absorption rate of iron
  • 30mcg vitamin B-12 – helps boost energy levels and works in harmony with vitamin C to boost absorption rate
  • 400mcg folate (derived from broccoli) – a necessary daily nutrient

Who makes it: Blood Builder is made by MegaFood, a large scale producer of whole food-derived supplements and health products. MegaFood takes a farm-to-tablet approach, ensuring the utmost quality at every step of the process. They manufacture health products using natural, whole food ingredients. MegaFood is “in the business of improving lives”, and once you try their products, you’ll understand what they mean by that!

Bottom line: Overall, these are the best iron pills money can buy. They are much more than a typical iron supplement, because they include whole food-derived ingredients to help increase the positive effects of the included iron. It may not be the cheapest option, but it is still quite affordable and well worth the money for the quality of the product.

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2. Now Foods Iron 18mg Ferrochel

Now-Foods-Iron-18mg-Ferrochel

NOW Foods Iron is a simple and powerful iron supplement. Providing an 18mg dose of iron derived from Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate, this affordable supplement provides an easy way to meet your daily iron needs by adding one small tablet to your daily routine.

Highlights:

  • Contains 18mg iron
  • Combats the negative effects of iron deficiency
  • Gentle & easy to digest
  • 100% vegan
  • Small pills – easy to swallow
  • Very affordable

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 18mg iron (Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate) – helps to ensure adequate iron levels in the body, which can provide a wide array of health benefits.

Who makes it: This supplement is made by NOW Foods, a large scale manufacturer of health foods and supplements. Since 1968, NOW has been in the business of creating high quality, healthy supplements to fit a variety of needs in the health community. Today, NOW Foods is one of the largest manufacturers in the industry, and for good reason – with high quality products at affordable prices, it’s no surprise that this brand is so popular!

Bottom line: Overall, this is one of the most affordable options on our list of the top 10 iron supplements. But more than that, it’s a high quality option that comes from a very reputable company. With a 100% vegan and easy-to-digest formula, this is a great option for those looking for a simple & affordable iron supplement.

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3. Solgar Gentle Iron 25 MG (IRON BISGLYCINATE)

Solgar-Gentle-Iron-25-MG-IRON-BISGLYCINATE

Solgar Gentle Iron is a good iron supplement made with iron Bisglycinate, one of the easier-to-digest forms of iron. Unlike many lower-quality products, this supplement should not cause any stomach upset or constipation. This extremely clean supplement is free of most common allergens including dairy, wheat and gluten, making it a good choice for those with limited diets.

Highlights:

  • Contains 25mg iron
  • Gentle form of iron is easy to digest
  • Combats iron deficiency
  • Free of common allergens (dairy, wheat, gluten, yeast, etc.
  • Vegetarian
  • Great value

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 25mg iron (iron bisglycinate) – a gentle, non-constipating form of iron that helps restore healthy iron levels in the body. Restores energy levels and provides an array of health benefits.

Who makes it: Gentle Iron is made by Solgar, a nutritional supplement company founded in 1947. For nearly 60 years, Solgar has been a leader in health product innovation. With an ongoing commitment to quality and purity, Solgar products are trusted worldwide as some of the highest-quality nutritional supplements available.

Bottom line: Overall, this is a great iron supplement. Because it uses the most gentle form of iron available, this supplement should be easy on the stomach and produce great results. It’s also a very affordable choice, yet still of the utmost quality.

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4. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Iron

Garden-of-Life-Vitamin-Code-Iron

Vitamin Code Iron is a complete iron supplement that also provides vitamin C, vitamin B12, folate, probiotics, and more. With 22mg of iron per serving, this supplement will help you meet your daily iron needs, while also providing a number of other vital nutrients.

Highlights:

  • Contains 22mg iron
  • Added vitamin C helps iron absorb more efficiently
  • Added vitamin B12 and folate
  • RAW probiotic blend
  • RAW fruit & vegetable blend
  • Much more than just an iron supplement!
  • Made with food-created nutrients
  • Raw, gluten free, dairy free & vegetarian
  • Good value for money

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 22mg iron – works to combat iron deficiency, which can cause a number of health issues
  • 500mcg vitamin B12 – provides energy for your day
  • 25mg vitamin C – helps improve iron absorption, increasing the effectiveness of the supplement
  • 400mcg folate – a necessary nutrient that is often deficient in our modern diets
  • 100mg RAW probiotic blend
  • 20mg organic RAW fruits & vegetable blend – helps provide nutrients from all-natural sources

Who makes it: Vitamin Code Iron is made by Garden of Life, a large scale manufacturer of natural health foods and supplements. Garden of Life focuses on using raw, organic foods to derive natural nutrients to use in their supplements. With an all-natural, holistic approach to supplementation, Garden of Life creates unique and highly effective products that work with even the strictest of diets.

Bottom line: Overall, Vitamin Code Iron is much more than a simple iron supplement. By providing substantial doses of various vitamins, plus probiotics and fruits & veggies, this product delivers a lot of value in a small package. With that being said, if you’re strictly looking for an iron supplement, there are more affordable options out there.

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5. Fergon Iron Supplement

Fergon-Iron-Supplement

Fergon Iron Supplement is a simple and effective iron supplement. Containing 27mg of iron in each capsule, this product provides an easy way to increase your daily intake.

Highlights:

  • 27mg iron per serving
  • Helps fight the symptoms of iron deficiency
  • Easy to take
  • Very affordable
  • Good value for money

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 27mg iron (ferrous gluconate) – an easily digestible form of iron. Helps meet daily nutrient requirements and helps prevent iron deficiency.

Who makes it: Fergon Iron Supplement is made by Bayer, one of the largest medicine manufacturers in the world. Originally founded in Germany in 1863, Bayer has expanded their operations worldwide, and today, is a multi-billion dollar company. They manufacture everything from aspirin to multivitamins to pharmaceuticals, and their products are found on just about every grocery store and drugstore shelf around the world.

Bottom line: Overall Fergon Iron Supplement is a simple, effective, and highly affordable supplement. It’s an easy way to meet daily iron needs, although it does not contain anything else to help boost the efficiency of iron. It’s recommended to take this supplement with a vitamin C tablet or a glass of orange juice, to aid in proper digestion of the iron.

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6. Iron Plus: Premium Iron Supplement

Iron-Plus-Premium-Iron-Supplement

Iron Plus is a natural iron supplement made with iron chelate bisglycinate. This easy-to-digest form of iron makes taking your daily supplement easy, and added vitamin C, B vitamins and folic acid help to further improve iron absorption, leading to better results and fewer side effects.

Highlights:

  • Contains 25mg iron
  • Combats iron deficiency symptoms
  • Gentle on the stomach
  • Easy to digest
  • Added vitamin C, B vitamins and folic acid
  • Vitamin C helps to increase absorption rate
  • Practitioner quality
  • Made in the USA
  • Free of preservatives, dyes and common allergens
  • Great value

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 25mg iron (ferrous iron bisglycinate) – a gentle form of iron that digests easily
  • 200mg vitamin C – helps iron absorb more efficiently
  • 25mg vitamin B-6 & 100mcg vitamin B-12 – helps to provide energy & improve iron digestion
  • 400mcg folic acid – a needed nutrient that is often deficient in modern diets

Who makes it: Iron Plus is made by Pure Micronutrients, a rapidly growing supplement manufacturer based in the US. This company is dedicated to delivering clean, effective supplements that do exactly what they’re intended to do, while avoiding the use of unnatural or unhealthy ingredients. With a solid team of professionals and a great customer service department, Pure Micronutrients is a great company to buy from!

Bottom line: Overall, Iron Plus is a powerful iron supplement. It contains a gentle form of iron, plus several added ingredients to help your body digest that iron in an efficient manner. It’s not the most affordable option out there, but considering the quality, it’s still a great value.

7. Ferro-Sequels High Potency Iron Supplement

Ferro-Sequels-High-Potency-Iron-Supplement

Ferro-Sequels high potency iron supplements are effective, time-released iron capsules. These gentle-on-the-stomach capsules are easy to digest, and release over time to allow for maximized absorption.

Highlights:

  • Contains 50mg iron per capsule
  • Absorbs slowly for maximum absorption
  • Gentle on the stomach
  • High iron content
  • High potency

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 50mg iron (ferrous fumarate) – formulated for slow-release, these iron tablets are easy on the stomach, and provide 278% of your daily value of iron. Because of the high quantity, this product is only recommended for certain people. Speak to your doctor about your individual needs.

Who makes it: Ferro-Sequels are made by IVC, otherwise known as International Vitamin Corporation. For more than 55 years, IVC has been a big player in the vitamin and supplement industry, manufacturing and distributing some of the best-known products on the shelf. With a focus on keeping quality high while delivering products at affordable prices, it’s not surprising that IVC has been so successful.

Bottom line: Overall, if your doctor has prescribed a high-potency iron supplement, Ferro-Sequels is a great choice. With 50mg of iron, this is definitely the pill with the highest iron content on this list. With that being said, it only contains iron, and it’s not the cheapest option – so weigh your options.

8. Nature’s Bounty Gentle Iron, 28mg

Natures-Bounty-Gentle-Iron

Nature’s Bounty Gentle Iron is a simple, effective and affordable iron supplement. Containing 28mg or iron glycinate per serving, these capsules are easy to take, easy on the stomach, and easy on the wallet. Plus, each capsule also includes vitamin C, B12, and folic acid, which all help to improve the digestibility of the iron.

Highlights:

  • Contains 28mg iron
  • Helps prevent iron deficiency
  • Formulated for gentle digestion
  • Affordable
  • Added vitamin C, B12 and folic acid to aid digestion

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 28mg iron (ferrous bisglycinate) this gently-digested form of iron is easy on the stomach, and helps prevent the effects of iron deficiency.
  • 60mg vitamin C – helps iron digest more efficiently
  • 8mcg vitamin B-12 – provides energy and aids in iron digestion
  • 400mcg folic acid – improves digestion and increases the effectiveness of iron

Who makes it: Gentle Iron is made by Nature’s Bounty, on of the larger producers of natural health supplements. For decades, health-conscious people from all over the world have trusted Natures Bounty for their commitment to quality and consistency.

Bottom line: Overall, Nature’s Bounty Gentle Iron is a good iron supplement from a great company. It combines easy-to-digest iron with other nutrients meant to increase the digestion rate of said iron, making it a highly effective supplement. The only downside is it’s currently only available in a 3-pack.

9. Sundown Perfect Iron

Sundown-Perfect-Iron

Sundown Naturals Perfect Iron is a high potency iron supplement that can help iron deficiency. With 50mg iron per serving (25mg per pill), this product provides flexible dosing and is an affordable, simple way to increase daily iron intake.

Highlights:

  • Contains 25mg iron per capsule
  • Promotes normal red blood cell production
  • Helps prevent iron deficiency
  • Uses carbonyl iron, which is absorbed easily
  • Vegetarian
  • Affordable

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 50mg iron (carbonyl iron) – carbonyl iron is supposedly easily digestible, although research on it is more limited when compared to the more-popular iron bisglycinate. The serving size is 2 capsules, so you can always take half a dose if you don’t need a full 50mg.

Who makes it: Perfect Iron is made by Sundown Naturals, a manufacturer of vitamins and supplements. With a history of more than 35 years in the industry, Sundown Naturals is known for quality, consistency, and a focus on customer satisfaction. Originally started as a small mail-order operation in Florida, today Sundown is available nationwide, and even has distribution networks worldwide.

Bottom line: Overall, Perfect Iron is a good product. It’s a bit bare-bones, containing none of the typical digestion-enhancing ingredients found in our top recommendations. It’s extremely affordable on a per-pill basis, but unfortunately you have to purchase a 3-pack of bottles, which is a bit expensive for a single purchase.

10. Shaklee Vita-Lea With Iron

Shaklee-Vita-Lea-With-Iron

Vita-Lea with Iron is a complete daily multivitamin, which includes a full daily dose of iron. While most multivitamins contain some iron, few provide the complete recommended serving. This product includes 18mg of iron in each dose, making it a good way to maintain an already healthy iron level.

Highlights:

  • Contains 18mg iron
  • Complete multivitamin
  • 100% or more of daily value of all the most important vitamins and minerals
  • Large dose of iron for a multivitamin
  • Affordable for a good multivitamin

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 18mg iron (ferrous fumarate) – to help prevent iron deficiency
  • Complete multivitamin, consisting of vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B12, B6, folate, calcium, and much more. This product aims to deliver a balanced blend of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to meet daily nutritional needs.

Who makes it: Vita-Lea with Iron is made by Shaklee, a large scale producer of health products, nutritional supplements, and more. For more than 100 years, Shaklee has been producing products with a focus on purity, potency, and performance. They are also committed to protecting – and improving – the planet we all share, through responsible business practices.

Bottom line: Overall, if you need a good multivitamin, Vita-Lea with Iron is a good choice. However, if you’re just looking for the best iron pills, skip further down this list to see our top recommendations.

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Austin Meadows

Written by Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is an independent writer and consultant specializing in health and wellness topics. With more than 7 years of experience writing in the natural health industry, Austin strives to deliver accurate, concise and researched based information to his readers. You can find more of Austin's work at Olympic-Creative.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.