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What Are The Signs That Your Iron Pills Are Working?

17th Feb, 2021  |  Micheal Brennan  |  Balanced Diet, Lifestyle

Iron is essential to life-supporting many essential functions in the human body. The key role for iron is the formation of haemoglobin which supports oxygen transport around the body. We get iron from our food, particularly red meat, fish and shellfish, whilst green leafy vegetables such as spinach are also a good source of iron. A healthy balanced diet should ensure we have sufficient iron in our diets; however, supplementation may be necessary in some cases. But how do we know if those supplements are working? In this post, we’ll help you answer that question and tell you all the signs that your iron pills are working.

Who should consider taking iron supplements?

If our iron intake is lower than our iron use, we can experience a lowering of our iron levels. This can happen for various reasons and is either a result of not absorbing enough iron or using an excess of iron. An indicator that you may not have optimum iron levels is tiredness and fatigue.

The people most likely to need an iron supplement are pregnant and menstruating women who follow restricted diets, e.g. vegetarians. Iron supplementation is also important for avid exercisers and sportspeople, e.g. marathon runners, cyclists and endurance athletes.

Active Iron is a powerful and highly effective iron supplement that is kind to your stomach and is easily absorbed by the body, meaning your energy levels should return to normal fast. Click here to visit our store and purchase Active Iron today.

The types of iron supplements that are available:

There are many types of iron supplements available to buy. They can come in capsule, tablet or liquid form. Regardless of your preference in terms of form, you should be aware of several important considerations before making your choice.

Firstly, the quantity of iron per dose should also be considered, 14mg is the recommended daily allowance for women of childbearing age, whilst men require 8.4mg daily (1). Secondly, check whether the supplement you are choosing is likely to cause side effects; iron side effects are common, so it is important to choose an iron supplement that will be gentle on your stomach. Finally, liquid iron, whilst easy to consume, can cause teeth staining.

How to take iron pills to ensure correct absorption:

When choosing an iron supplement, it is best to choose a stand-alone iron rather than taking iron as part of a multivitamin. The other vitamins and minerals contained in multivitamins can inhibit the absorption of iron.

When taking your iron supplement, it is important to take them correctly to ensure the correct absorption. Firstly, please do not take your iron supplement with any foods which can inhibit their absorption and reduce their effectiveness. Iron should never be taken with tea or coffee. It should also not be taken with milk or with calcium supplements. It is recommended that iron is taken with Vitamin C, which is known to improve iron absorption. To achieve this, take your iron supplement with juice.

When choosing an iron supplement, it is important to choose one strong on absorption whilst reducing the impact of the gut irritation commonly caused by iron. The more effective the absorption, the less excess iron remains in your gastrointestinal tract, thus reducing the risk of oxidative stress, which is the primary cause of side effects.

The signs that your iron supplements are working

It can be difficult to know if your iron supplements are working well, so it’s important to remember that iron in the body is stored in two ways. Firstly, as storage iron in our liver and secondly as transport or circulating iron (haemoglobin) in our blood. When our iron intake is low, our storage iron is depleted first, which means we have lower reserves of iron. It can take up to 3 months to replenish storage iron.

As tiredness or a lack of energy (fatigue) is commonly associated with a diet low in iron, it is likely to be the first change you notice when you take an iron supplement” (2). If your iron supplement is working, you should notice an increase in energy levels; however, when this will occur varies from person to person and is dependent on how much storage or transport iron has been depleted.

When your iron supplement is working, you should have more energy, better concentration and a healthier immune system (3).

Signs that your iron supplement may not be working

If you continue to experience the effects of suboptimal iron levels such as tiredness and fatigue, it may be a sign that your iron supplements are not working (4).

One of the key reasons your iron supplement may not be working is because you are not taking it regularly or have stopped the course. Experiencing side effects is one of the main reasons people stop taking iron tablets. Side effects such as constipation and nausea are common with iron tablets. Some people stop completely whilst others take their iron infrequently. If you stop taking your iron tablets early or you only take them infrequently, you may cause them not to work.

By choosing an iron supplement that is gentle on your stomach, you can take your iron supplement daily and ensure you achieve optimum absorption and thus ensure they are working correctly.

How do I know how much iron I need in my supplements?

Our daily requirement for iron depends on several factors; Women of child-bearing age have the highest need for iron with a daily requirement of 14.8mg. Whilst Men and post-menopausal women have a daily requirement of 8.7 mg (5).

It is important to ensure your supplement is giving you a sufficient amount of iron. Some people experience side effects, especially from higher dose iron pills. This is a result of poor absorption. The unabsorbed iron becomes oxidised and causes gut irritation, resulting in side effects such as constipation and nausea.

What are the signs your iron pills are working?

  • The signs your iron pills are working are as follows:
  • You will feel that you have more energy
  • Your ability to concentrate may improve
  • You will have a healthier immune system

Iron pills side effects:

  • You may experience an upset stomach
  • You may experience nausea
  • You may experience constipation
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting are other side effects
  • Some liquid iron supplements can also stain your teeth

What are the signs that your iron pills are not working?

If your supplements are not working, you may experience the following*:

  • You may continue to experience tiredness and fatigue (even after 90 days)
  • You may have poor concentration
  • You may have a weaker immune system
  • Your iron levels may be lower than optimum levels

Does Active Iron cause side effects?

Active Iron does not cause any of the common side effects of other iron supplements. Our customers take Active Iron because:

  1. Active Iron is well absorbed due to our unique protein formula
  2. It helps protect the gut from inflammation and causes less reactive oxygen species generation
  3. Other iron products dissolve in the stomach or lower intestine, causing inflammation and reactive oxygen species in the gut which leads to poor absorption

Is your iron supplement working well for you?

If you are not getting enough iron from your diet alone, an iron supplement can help your iron levels. An iron supplement that is working well should be easy to take with no side effects, and you should have a noticeable increase in your energy levels.

When choosing an iron supplement, it is important to choose one strong on absorption whilst being gentle on the stomach.

With its ground-breaking protein formula, Active Iron delivers x2 better absorption than standard ferrous sulphate, whilst its non-constipating formula helping to reduce gut irritation from iron (6).


(1) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/iron/, accessed May 2020

(2) Tiredness/Fatigue may be a symptom of other conditions. You should contact a health care professional if it persists.

(3) Iron helps support your energy metabolism, supports cognitive function and supports your immune system.

(4) These symptoms may be signs of other conditions. You should contact a health care professional if they persist.

(5) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/iron/, accessed May 2020.

(6) Wang et al., Acta Haematologica 2017

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