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Iron is a mineral that is essential for many bodily processes. Some people may decide to take iron supplements to ensure that they get an adequate intake of iron.

This article lists the best iron supplements available online, provides information on what iron does and how a person can increase their intake through their diet, and covers some frequently asked questions about iron supplementation.

A quick look at 8 of the best iron supplements

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best iron supplement subscription: Care/of iron capsules

Care/of iron capsules isolated over blue background
  • Price: $7
  • Type: capsule
  • Dosage: one capsule a day
  • Volume: 30-day supply
  • Age: 19–50
  • Active ingredients: iron and vitamin C
  • Certifications: gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan
  • Pros: gives 100% of recommended iron DV for females
  • Cons: company does not mention third-party testing

Care/of is a monthly subscription service that provides personalized nutritional supplements based on a customer’s unique health needs and goals.

The company offers an iron supplement in capsule form that contains fermented vitamin C to support iron absorption and prevent digestive discomfort.

The supplement is vegan, free of gluten, and does not contain GMOs.

The company recommends taking its iron supplement between meals. People should not take it alongside the Calcium Plus supplement.

While the company writes that it is open about the scientific research behind each product and its testing before, during, and after manufacturing, it does not mention if a third-party lab tests its products.

Care/of is available online with home delivery, and a 30-day supply of iron supplements costs $7.

Learn more about the Care/of brand here.

Best allergen-free iron supplement: Persona iron capsules

persona iron capsules isolated over blue background
  • Price: $0.33 per capsule
  • Type: capsule
  • Dosage: one capsule a day
  • Volume: one capsule
  • Age: 19–50 years old
  • Active ingredients: iron, vitamin C, and calcium
  • Certifications: vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free
  • Pros: contains 100% of DV of iron, small capsule size
  • Cons: provides over DV of iron for men

Persona is a nutritional supplement subscription service. It requires customers to complete an online assessment to generate personalized supplement recommendations based on the person’s health needs and goals.

Persona provides a range of supplements, including iron capsules with vitamin C.

According to the company, the vegan iron supplements are suitable for a wide range of food intolerances and allergies and are free from:

Each capsule costs $0.33. Taken once a day, this would cost around $10 a month. A person is not charged for a subscription service and will only pay for the supplements they order.

Learn more about the Persona brand here.

Best tablet iron supplement: New Chapter Fermented Iron Complex tablet

New chapter fermented iron
  • Price: $37.75
  • Type: tablet
  • Dosage: one tablet a day
  • Volume: 60 tablets
  • Age: 9–13, 51 and over
  • Active ingredients: Vitamins E, B12 and C, folate, iron, and zinc
  • Certifications: Non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and vegetarian
  • Pros: third-party tested, GMP-compliant
  • Cons: contains fermented soy

According to the company, this supplement is organic, vegetarian, and kosher. It is free from gluten, dairy, sugar, GMOs, artificial flavors and colors, and synthetic fillers. However, it does contain fermented soy, which makes it unsuitable for people with a soy allergy.

The company also writes that this product uses fermented ingredients, which may help support digestion and improve absorption.

The product has also undergone third-party testing, and New Chapter claims it is Food and Drug Administration (FDA)– and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-compliant.

The company recommends a person takes one tablet a day.

A bottle of 60 tablets costs $37.75.

Best low-dose iron gummies: Vitamin Friends Kids Vegan Iron Gummies

Vitamin Friends Kids Vegan Iron Gummies isolated on a blue background.
  • Price: $21.99
  • Volume: 60 gummies
  • Type: gummy
  • Dosage: one gummy a day
  • Age: no information available
  • Active ingredients: iron, vitamin A, B3, B5, B6, B12, and C, zinc, and biotin
  • Certifications: vegan, cGMP
  • Pros: suitable for children, third-party tested
  • Cons: does not provide 100% DV of iron

This supplement comes in gummy form, which may be better for children or people who find it difficult to swallow tablet supplements. It does not give a person 100% of their daily recommended iron intake. However, this may be suitable for people who experience digestive problems from higher-dose iron supplements.

These gummies are vegan, organic, and kosher.

The supplement contains:

The company recommends a person takes one gummy a day. According to the product labeling, one gummy contains 5 mg of ferrous fumarate, which is 71% of the DV for children aged 1–3, and 28% for adults and children aged 4 and over, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

A tub of 60 gummies costs $21.99.

Best iron supplements for athletes: Thorne Iron Bisglycinate capsules

Thorne iron bisglycinate
  • Price: $13
  • Type: capsules
  • Dosage: one capsule a day
  • Volume: 60 capsules
  • Age: 6 and over
  • Active ingredients: 25 mg iron
  • Certifications: National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free
  • Pros: affordable, no artificial flavors, colors, or sugar
  • Cons: does not contain other active ingredients

These capsules may suit athletes, as they have the NSF certification for sport. This certification means that the supplements do not contain substances that sporting organizations ban or disallow.

According to the company, this supplement is free from soy, gluten, dairy, and artificial flavors. The company formulated it specifically to prevent digestive discomfort.

Each capsule contains 25 mg of elemental iron. According to the product labeling, 25 mg accounts for 139% of a person’s iron DV. The company recommends a person takes one capsule per day.

A bottle of 60 capsules costs $13.

Learn about what vitamins and minerals athletes need here.

Best iron gummies for children: Maxi Health Chewable Kiddievite

Maxi Health Chewable Kiddievite isolated on a blue background.
  • Price: $31.95
  • Type: chewies
  • Dosage: one chew a day
  • Volume: 90 chewies
  • Age: no information available
  • Active ingredients: 10 mg iron
  • Certifications: cGMP, kosher
  • Pros: 3-month supply, includes a wide range of additional vitamins
  • Cons: contains fish gelatin, wheat, milk, and artificial flavors

These natural bubblegum flavor chewable vitamins provide 10 mg of iron per gummy. According to the product labeling, this accounts for 56% of a person’s DV based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

They are marketed for children, and contain a wide range of additional vitamins, including:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D3
  • vitamin E
  • folate
  • biotin
  • calcium
  • magnesium

These chewable vitamins are not suitable for vegetarians as they contain fish gelatin.

A bottle of 90 chews costs $31.95.

Best for high bioavailability: Pure Encapsulations Iron Liquid

Pure Encapsulations Iron Liquid isolated on a blue backrgound.
  • Price: $34.30
  • Type: liquid
  • Dosage: one teaspoon a day
  • Volume: 4.1 fl oz
  • Age: no information available
  • Active ingredients: iron ferric pyrophosphate
  • Certifications: gluten-free
  • Pros: free from dairy and soy, vegetarian, easy to swallow
  • Cons: contains maltodextrin, which may not be safe for people with diabetes

This liquid iron includes a proprietary blend of cranberry and wild blueberry extract that the company claims provides antioxidants.

The company also writes that the form of iron in this supplement, ferric pyrophosphate, has a high bioavailability. High bioavailability means that the body can easily absorb it.

The company claims this product is GMO- and gluten-free. It recommends that a person have one teaspoon — 5 ml — of this iron liquid daily.

According to the product labeling, this will provide 15 mg of iron, accounting for 83% of a person’s DV.

A 4.1 fl oz bottle costs $34.30.

Best iron supplement for sensitive stomachs: Nature’s Bounty Gentle Iron

Nature's Bounty Gentle Iron isolated on a blue background.
  • Price: $25.17
  • Type: capsules
  • Dosage: one capsule a day
  • Volume: 90 capsules
  • Age: adults
  • Active ingredients: 28 mg iron
  • Certifications: labs audited by United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
  • Pros: 3-month supply, gentle on stomach
  • Cons: not suitable for vegetarians

Nature’s Bounty writes that this iron supplement is gentle on the stomach. This supplement may suit people who experience digestive discomfort after taking iron supplements.

According to the company, this supplement is suitable for adults. Each capsule contains 28 mg of ferrous bisglycinate. The product labeling states this accounts for 156% of a person’s DV.

Each capsule also contains vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

The company writes that its products are tested throughout the manufacturing process for purity and potency. However, Nature’s Bounty does not use third-party labs to test its products. The USP has audited its laboratories.

The company recommends a person takes one capsule a day with a meal.

A pack of three bottles of 90 capsules costs $25.17.

The table below compares each of the iron supplements included in this article.

TypeDose (mg)% DVCertificationsSuitable for vegansPrice
Care/of iron capsulescapsule18100• gluten-free

• non-GMO
Persona iron capsulescapsule18100• vegan

• gluten-free

• lactose-free
yes$0.33 per capsule
New Chapter Fermented Iron Complex tablettablet950cGMPvegetarian$37.75
Vitamin Friends Kids Vegan Iron Gummiesgummy5• 71 for ages 1–3

• 28 for ages 4 and over
• vegan

• cGMP
Thorne Iron Bisglycinate capsulescapsule25139• NSF

• gluten-, dairy-, soy-free
Maxi Health Chewable Kiddievitechewies1056cGMPno$31.95
Pure Encapsulations Iron Liquidliquid1583gluten-freevegetarian$34.30
Nature’s Bounty Gentle Ironcapsule28156USP-audited labsno$25.17

The human body cannot make iron on its own. For this reason, people must obtain the mineral through their diet. When iron makes its way into the body through a person’s diet, it is known as dietary iron.

Research has identified two primary forms of dietary iron. The first is nonheme iron, which is present in plant- and animal-derived foods. The second form is heme iron, which is only present in foods derived from animals.

Heme iron has higher bioavailability, and the body can absorb it more easily. Nonheme iron is the most important dietary source of iron for vegans and vegetarians. However, it has a lower bioavailability, and more factors affect its absorption.

Learn more about iron here.

Around 65% of the iron in a person’s body becomes a part of hemoglobin molecules. These molecules are present in the red blood cells, which carry oxygen from a person’s lungs toward other organs.

Iron also plays a role in energy production in the body. It carries oxygen to the muscles and brain and is important for mental and physical performance. Low iron levels may result in a lack of focus, irritability, and reduced stamina.

Iron is an essential element of various metabolic processes in the human body, including electron transport and DNA synthesis.

Learn more about iron here.

Iron supplements are often available in the form of a tablet or capsules. Some individuals may prefer to use liquid or gummy supplements. People should consider which form would suit their needs best.

Look for reputable brands with third-party certification or testing. Choose products from companies that are transparent about their ingredients and product dosages.

Some iron supplements include other vitamins and minerals, which may suit people who do not take many other supplements. For example, iron supplements that contain vitamin C may enable better absorption.

Some people may experience digestive discomfort when taking iron supplements. Iron supplements that are fermented or designed to aid digestion may help ease or prevent this discomfort.

A person should follow a doctor’s instructions or the product label for when and how often to take iron supplements. Typically, it is best to take them on an empty stomach and with water, around 1–2 hours before a meal.

The body can absorb iron more easily when it has enough vitamin C. Therefore, some people may wish to take vitamin C supplements or consume orange juice alongside their iron supplements.

Generally, however, people should avoid taking iron supplements with beverages such as coffee, tea, or milk, as they may interfere with iron absorption.

People should also avoid taking calcium supplements and antacids with iron supplements, as they too can inhibit the body’s absorption of the mineral.

It is unlikely that taking iron supplements will lead to any unwanted health effects unless a person is ingesting more than the daily recommended daily value of iron.

Some people’s bodies may initially have difficulty dealing with the changes in dietary iron. When this occurs, a person may experience:

It is also possible for an individual to have too much dietary iron in their body. This can lead to conditions such as iron overload disorder and iron poisoning. Anyone who suspects that they may have either condition should seek medical advice.

Some symptoms of iron toxicity include:

Healthcare professionals will only recommend taking supplemental iron if a person has low iron levels. People with normal iron levels should not take supplemental iron.

If a person thinks that they may have iron deficiency or be at risk of developing it, they should contact a doctor.

Healthcare professionals tend to recommend iron supplements to restore healthy iron levels.

They will also recommend that people get extra iron during pregnancy. This is due to increased dietary needs. Most prenatal vitamins contain extra iron.

The body requires large amounts of iron during pregnancy, and deficiencies may increase the risk of maternal and infant mortality, low birth weight, and preterm labor.

One 2015 review found that pregnant people can manage their risk of developing iron deficiency and anemia by taking iron supplements.

Learn about the best prenatal vitamins here.

Supplements may also positively affect athletic performance in those who have iron deficiency.

Specifically, a 2015 study reports that iron supplements can increase the aerobic capacity of endurance athletes whose iron levels are too low.

However, when taking iron supplements, it is important to understand the safe and recommended dosages. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend the following daily amounts of iron:

AgeMaleFemaleDuring pregnancyDuring lactation
0–6 months0.27 mg*0.27 mg*
7–12 months11 mg11 mg
1–3 years7 mg7 mg
4–8 years10 mg10 mg
9–13 years8 mg8 mg
14–18 years11 mg15 mg27 mg10 mg
19–50 years8 mg18 mg27 mg9 mg
51+ years8 mg8 mg

*Adequate intake

Iron deficiency occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing or retaining enough iron.

According to a 2020 article, the rate of iron deficiency in the United States is around 1% in males under 50 years of age, and 10% in women of childbearing age. In children aged 12–36 months, the rate of iron deficiency is around 9%.

Iron deficiency can sometimes cause anemia, which is a condition where the body does not produce enough red blood cells.

Anemia is a common condition, affecting around one-third of the global population. Roughly 50% of these cases are due to iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency can have different causes, such as:

  • Insufficient intake of dietary iron: Some people do not get enough dietary iron. This can happen if they follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and do not take an iron supplement. These diets can be low in heme iron.
  • Blood loss: Since a lot of the body’s iron is present in the red blood cells, blood loss can lead to iron deficiency. Blood loss may occur due to menstruation or conditions such as stomach ulcers and colon cancer.
  • Iron malabsorption: This occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the dietary iron that it needs. This can result from conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and procedures such as gastrointestinal surgery.
  • Growth: The body needs iron to aid oxygen transportation. For this reason, people in periods of growth will require more iron because their body will require more oxygen. This makes young children and pregnant people more at risk of iron deficiency.
  • Other conditions: Some health conditions, such as obesity, kidney failure, cancer, and congestive heart failure, may also lead to iron deficiency.

Some symptoms of iron deficiency include:

People who suspect they have iron deficiency anemia should contact a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Learn more about iron deficiency here.

Some people may wish to increase their dietary iron intake without taking supplements. They can add a number of iron-rich foods to their diets, such as:

Learn about the best foods and meal plan for iron deficiency anemia here.

Here are some of the top questions about iron.

What is the best form of iron supplement to take?

The best form of iron supplement to take will depend on a person’s individual needs. Popular options include ferric sulfate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous sulfate, and ferric citrate. Ferrous bisglycinate is used in iron supplements that aim to be more gentle on the stomach.

A person can research how easily the body can absorb the different types of iron supplement, the dose each type provides, and whether they are known to produce side effects.

A person should talk to a doctor to determine which form of iron supplement they should take.

How can I boost my iron levels quickly?

A person can increase their iron levels by eating foods rich in iron.

Foods that are rich in iron can include red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood. Beans and dark green leafy vegetables are also good sources of iron. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C may also help increase the absorption of iron.

If a person has a condition that affects how they can absorb nutrients from their food, they should speak to a doctor to find out how they can increase their iron levels.

What is the best supplement for iron deficiency?

People with iron deficiency anemia should work with a doctor to find the right iron supplement. Generally, the best iron supplement for iron deficiency will meet the recommended daily value percentage of iron for the person’s sex and age, be easy to take and absorb, and produce minimal side effects.

People who are low on iron may need higher doses than the average person.

Do iron pills really work?

Iron supplements are effective for increasing a person’s iron levels. They can significantly increase iron levels and reduce fatigue.

A person can work with a doctor to determine the right dose for them based on their health needs.

Should I take iron supplements?

If a person is experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, they should talk to a doctor and get a blood test. The results of this test will show whether a person needs to take iron supplements.

A person will not need to take iron supplements if they are taking in adequate amounts of iron through their diet. Taking too much iron can be dangerous.

Iron is a mineral that is essential for many bodily processes. People who find it difficult to get enough iron from their diet may consider taking iron supplements. This may help prevent iron deficiency anemia.

Anyone who is considering taking iron supplements should seek the advice of a doctor first.