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8 Best Iron Supplements for Anemia

Best Iron Supplements for Anemia (1)

Best Iron Anemia Supplements | Common Questions

If you have been feeling fatigued and out of breath, you may be wondering if you are anemic or have iron deficiency anemia.

Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia, and it can be treated with iron supplementation.

The author of this article – Jared Levenson – was previously diagnosed with anemia as a result of improperly following a vegetarian diet.

I had been feeling fatigued for a while and after a blood test diagnosis, I finally got confirmation of iron deficiency anemia.

Good news – iron deficiency anemia is usually quickly fixed with supplementation and changes to diet. After a few months of taking iron supplements for anemia and reintroducing meat, I took another blood test and my anemia was gone!

In this article, we will discuss the 8 best iron supplements for anemia.

After our top eight choices, we will also cover the potential side effects and other important things to think about.

We include items that we trust will be useful to our visitors. If you click on one of the links on our site, we may get a commission. More info below.

Please keep in mind supplements are lightly regulated by the FDA. Their stated claims have no guarantee. They aren’t cures or treatments for any diseases.

Food is your best source of nutrition. Please check with your doctor before any supplement program as there can be side effects to iron supplementation.

Finally, you may also want a vitamin and mineral deficiency blood test to confirm you have anemia before making any decisions.

If you want more helpful info on supplements – including risks and general FDA guidelines – please see our “Supplements and Vitamins – Ultimate Beginner’s Guide“.

8 Best Iron Supplements for Anemia

  1. Best OverallMegaFood “Blood Builder”
  2. PriceBulk Supplements “Kelp Extract”
  3. Best Tasting ChewableFusion Lifestyle “Soft Chew Iron 45mg”
  4. Highest Iron ConcentrationNaturesPlus “Hema-Plex”
  5. Best BlendGarden of Life “Vitamin Code Raw Iron”
  6. Easy on Stomach AlternativeLife Extension “Iron Protein Plus”
  7. Best Chew TabletsCarlson “Chew Iron”
  8. Good, But Not GreatBotanic Choice “Start! Multivitamin for Women”

1 – Best Overall – MegaFood

  • Price = $ 15.12
  • # of Servings = 30
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.50
  • Product Reviews = 4.8/5 rating with 153 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1 tablet per day, easy on stomach
  • Labeled Effect = support multivitamin and iron in anemia
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = 26 mg of iron per serving, supported by science, easy on stomach
  • Cons

About “Blood Builder”:

This iron supplement is our top rated because it has transparent science backing its ease of digestion.

Occasionally iron supplements can upset the stomach. 

While many iron supplements claim they are easy on the stomach, we find the MegaFood’s transparent science is accessible and this counts for a lot in our opinion!

With 26 mg of iron per serving, which is the recommended daily value, you are in good hands if you have anemia.

Made by “MegaFood”:

About MegaFood: MegaFood started in 1973 and is a verified B-Corporation, which means they meet higher standards for quality, transparency and sustainability. MegaFood provides tons of science, gives back to the community, and is transparent about their supply chain. According to MetaCritic, MegaFood has a 4.3/5 average rating based on 7,100 reviews.

  • Start = 1973
  • Revenue = $67 million
  • Employees = 200
  • Mission = working toward a world where everyone is truly nourished
  • Third Party Certifications = B Certification, USDA Organic Certification, Non-GMO Project Verified, Vegan, Certified Kosher, 125+ Pesticide Free, Certified Gluten-Free
  • Third Party Reviews = 4.3/5 with 7,100 reviews

2 – Best Price – Bulk Supplements

  • Price = $ 12.96
  • # of Servings = 200
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.06
  • Product Reviews = 4.8/5 rating with 10 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1/5 teaspoon per day  
  • Labeled Effect = support increasing nutritional requirements and iron in anemia
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = unique kelp-based formulation, great price
  • Cons = no other vitamins, herbs or minerals

About “Kelp Extract”:

Kelp is a rich source for many vitamins and minerals your body needs, such as:

  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Folate 
  • Magnesium

If you are looking for a more natural source of iron to combat anemia, and want a great price, this is a good iron supplement to try.

Made by “Bulk Supplements”:

About Bulk Supplements: Bulk Supplements started in 2011 and is based in Nevada. Its main manufacturing facility is FDA registered. They keep costs low by producing one metric ton for each supplement. According to ReviewMeta.com, average adjusted rating is 4.4/5 from 39,370 verified reviews.

  • Start = 2011
  • Revenue = $10 million
  • Employees = 50
  • Mission
  • Third Party Certifications = NSF, cGMP
  • Third Party Reviews = 4.4/5 from 39,370 reviews

3 – Best Tasting Chewable – Fusion Lifestyle

  • Price = $ 28.98
  • # of Servings = 60
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.48
  • Product Reviews = 4.6/5 rating with 4,361 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = cherry, easy on the stomach, 1 chew
  • Labeled Effect = works with the body to increase iron absorption rates, while also providing immune and antioxidant benefits
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = whopping 45 mg of iron per serving, and easy on stomach
  • Cons = not many other additional vitamins (besides Vitamin C)

About “Soft Chews Iron 45mg”:

Includes 45 mg of iron per serving which is one of the higher concentrates.

Made by “Fusion Lifestyle”:

About Fusion Lifestyle: We couldn’t find financial info for this Fusion Lifestyle company (note: different from Fusion-Lifestyle). However, according to ReviewMeta.com, Fusion Lifestyle has a 4.5 average adjusted rating from 423 verified reviews.

4 – Highest Iron Concentration – NaturesPlus 

  • Price = $ 9.99
  • # of Servings = 30
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.33
  • Product Reviews = 4.7/5 rating with 36 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1 tablet per serving 
  • Labeled Effect = essential nutrients for healthy blood cells
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = 85 mg of iron per serving!
  • Cons

About “Hema-Plex”:

85 mg of iron per serving is the highest concentration of iron in a supplement we’ve seen.

Please know that more it not necessarily better! Nonetheless, we know ‘more’ is what many people are looking for so it’s that you then this is a great supplement.

This is a time-tested company with over 50 years of experience. They have tons of certifications and you can be sure you are getting a high quality supplement for anemia support here.

Made by “NaturesPlus”:

About NaturesPlus: Began in 1972. According to Reviewmeta.com, NaturesPlus has a 4.2 average adjusted rating from 13,241 verified reviews.

  • Start = 1972
  • Revenue = $68 million
  • Employees = 400
  • Mission = Caring, commitment, family, innovation and credibility 
  • Third Party Certifications = FDA Registered, NSF GMP, USNOP Organic Certification, EU Organic Certification, Presidential E Award, USPTO
  • Third Party Reviews = 4.2 average rating from 13,241 reviews

5 – Best Blend – Garden of Life

  • Price = $ 12.59
  • # of Servings = 30
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.42
  • Product Reviews = 4.9/5 with 32 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1 capsule, may be taken with or without food
  • Labeled Effect = supporting mental and physical energy; heart‚ blood‚ eye‚ skin and reproductive health
  • Food Allergens
  • Pros = contains probiotics, organic veggie fruit blend, and other vitamins and minerals
  • Cons

About “Vitamin Code Raw Iron”:

This supplement also contains probiotics, and an organic fruit veggie blend.

Most iron supplements do not contain probiotics or the organic fruit blend so we wanted to acknowledge this.

With 22 mg of iron you are getting plenty per serving too.

Made by “Garden of Life”:

About Garden of Life: Garden of Life is a wellness company that sells vitamins, probiotics, and herbal therapies. Garden of Life has been in business for 22 years. They have an attractive mission statement, a B-Corporation Certification, and a proven track record. According to ReviewMeta, Garden of Life has an average adjusted score of 4.⅕ from 28,011 reviews.

  • Start = 22 years old, founded in 2000
  • Revenue = $222 million
  • Employees = 300
  • Third Party Certifications = B-Corporation and 14 other certifications ranging from USDA organic, Gluten Free, Carbon Neutral, Cruelty Free, and many more.
  • Mission = Empower Extraordinary Health through belief that overall health is rooted in healthy digestion
  • Third Party Reviews = 4.1/5 average rating from 28,011 reviews

6 – Easy on Stomach Alternative – Life Extension

  • Price = $ 21.00
  • # of Servings = 100
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.21
  • Product Reviews = 4.7/5 rating with 57 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1 vegetable capsule per serving, easy to digest   
  • Labeled Effect = increase the red blood cell and iron also protein 
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = unique iron formulation for easy digestion
  • Cons = no transparent science backing claims

About “Iron Protein Plus”:

This is another iron supplement specifically made to be easy to digest. 

Life Extension claims their iron protein blend is more bioavailable and easier to digest than normal iron supplements.

Life Extension is a popular, time-tested company and their reputation is solid. It’s likely their claims are true.

However, transparent, accessible science is always the gold standard and they do not provide this for the reader.

In addition, their supplement contains 18mg of iron per serving, which is a little short of the 26-27 mg of iron recommended per day.

Made by “Life Extension”:

About Life Extension: Life Extension began in 1980 and is still going 40 years later. In 2021 ConsumerLab.com voted Life Extension as #1 Rated Catalog/Internet Merchant. According to ReviewMeta.com, Life Extension’s average adjusted rating of 4.1/5 from 24,224 verified reviews. 

  • Start = 1980
  • Revenue = $168 million
  • Employees = 500
  • Mission = Achieve your goals with the best nutritional products that science can offer
  • Third Party Certifications = GMP, Non-GMO
  • Third Party Reviews = average adjusted rating of 4.1/5 from 24,224 reviews

7 – Best Chew Tablets – Carlson

  • Price = $ 5.52
  • # of Servings = 30
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.18
  • Product Reviews = 4.2/5 rating with 20 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1 chewable tablet   
  • Labeled Effect = increase the red blood cell and iron
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = chewable, 27 mg of iron
  • Cons = no other vitamins and minerals

About “Chew-Iron”:

If you can’t swallow pills this is a great alternative for iron supplementation. The tablet is chewable and has a grape flavor.

If you don’t want the sugar from other chewables this is a good option to try.

With 27 mg of iron you are getting your body’s daily requirements, however, there are no other vitamins and minerals.

Made by “Carlson”:

About Carlson: Carlson began in 1965 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. According to ReviewMeta.com, Carlson Laboratories average adjusted score is 4.4/5 from 16,066 verified reviews.

  • Start = 1965
  • Revenue = $28 million
  • Employees = 152
  • Mission = to help preserve the waterways for future generations
  • Third Party Certifications = IFOS, IGEN, Friend of the Sea
  • Third Party Reviews = average adjusted score is 4.4/5 from 16,066 verified reviews. 

8 – Good, But Not Great – Botanic Choice

  • Price = $ 12.99
  • # of Servings = 30
  • Price per Serving = $ 0.43
  • Product Reviews = 5/5 rating with 8 reviews
  • Taste / Absorption = 1 easy-to-swallow capsule per serving  
  • Labeled Effect = support multivitamin and iron in anemia
  • Food Allergens = safe
  • Pros = lots of vitamins and minerals, including 18 mg of iron
  • Cons = not as much iron as other supplements

About “Start! Multivitamin for Women”:

This is a high quality iron supplement with vitamin blends for women. 

It doesn’t have the 26-27 mg of iron for a daily serving, but 18 mg of iron comes close. 

With a variety of other vitamins and minerals this is a solid option to try.

We included this ranking “Good, but not great” to show that the iron content is not quite at what we feel is industry standard. 

Made by “Botanic Choice”:

About “Botanic Choice”: Botanic Choice started in 1910, over 100 years ago. The company is family owned and has millions of customers worldwide. They are one of the oldest supplement companies still around today. According to MetaCritic, Botanic Choice has a 3.8/5 rating with 1,496 reviews.

  • Start = 112 years old, founded in 1910
  • Revenue = $18 million
  • Employees = 107
  • Mission = dedicated to making effective natural health solutions available to all
  • Third Party Certifications = GMP
  • Third Party Reviews = 3.8/5 with 1,496 reviews

What factors we use to rank supplements?

What should you look for when picking supplements?

Here are factors you should consider, and the factors we use to rank too!

1 – Price = What’s the price of the supplement? What’s the cost per serving?

At Eating Enlightenment we value quality over price. However, all else being equal, then price comes into consideration. 

2 – Reviews = How many reviews for each product? What’s the average rating? How many third party reviews?

We strongly believe in third party reviews. Many supplement companies list positive reviews on their website, but third party reviews include negative comments. We always go with third party reviews.

3 – Reputation = How reputable is the brand behind the supplement? How long has the brand been around? What’s their mission? 

We believe that a company’s intention is highly important and should be one of your top purchasing decision factors.

4 – Taste / Absorption = What’s the taste? How quickly does your body absorb the supplement? Do reviews mention any negative side effects like an upset stomach?

5 – Perceived Therapeutic Effect = What beneficial effects or feelings does this supplement promote?

6 – Food Allergens = Does the company provide allergen info?

7 – Science / Certifications = Does the company list transparent scientific studies on their website? Do third party certifications test the company’s supplement for quality control? How many certifications does the company have?

8 – Pros/Cons = What are the pros and cons of each supplement? How is the supplement unique? For what situations is this supplement best?

Who benefits most from iron supplements?

Iron supplements can be useful but not for everyone. The groups that benefit most from supplementation are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Menstruating women
  • Vegans / vegetarians
  • Anemic people with chronic illnesses
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders

Iron toxicity and other precautions?

Please note that all 8 of these iron supplements listed above give notice regarding young children.

Taking too much iron can be fatal in young children. While deaths from supplements are exceedingly rare, if there are deaths, sadly it’s often the case when a young child ingests too many iron pills all at once time.

Who may not benefit from iron supplements?

Just like there are people who benefit from iron supplements, there are others who don’t need the extra iron!

If you have hemochromatosis (iron overload), are not anemic, or have had a recent blood transfusion, you probably don’t need extra iron.

You should also be careful with iron supplements if you have kidney disease. This is because your body may have trouble eliminating excess iron.

When should I take iron supplements?

The best time to take iron supplements is with food. Iron supplements can cause nausea and stomach upset when taken on an empty stomach.

You should also avoid taking iron supplements with calcium, coffee, tea, or antacids. These can all reduce the absorption of iron.

Food sources of iron

Please know that you can get your body’s need for iron through food alone. Supplementation is always meant to complement a nutritious diet.

Here are foods that are good sources of iron:

  • Red meat
  • Beans
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Fortified cereals
  • Iron-enriched breads
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts and seeds

How to take iron supplements?

There are several different ways you can take iron supplements.

The easiest way is with a glass of water. The second easiest way is with food.

If you have difficulties with swallowing or with food, you can open the supplement and mix the contents into applesauce or other foods.

Can iron supplements cause constipation?

Yes, iron supplements can cause constipation. This is because iron is a mineral that can bind to other minerals in the intestine and make it difficult for the body to absorb them.

While the above supplements take constipation and other stomach concerns into question, this is a potential side-effect.

If you are constipated, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may also want to talk to your doctor about taking a stool softener or laxative.

What form of iron is best absorbed?

Iron in general absorbs fairly easily. However, certain forms are better absorbed than others.

The two most easily absorbed forms of iron are ferrous sulfate and ferrous gluconate.

Ferric citrate is also a good choice if you have trouble with constipation.

How can I boost my iron levels quickly?

If you are iron deficient and are looking for ways to boost the amount of iron in your blood quickly, consider these two tips:

  1. Eat foods that are high in iron. This includes red meat, beans, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, and iron-enriched breads.
  2. Take an iron supplement. Be sure to choose a supplement that is easy on the stomach and doesn’t cause constipation. Ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, and ferric citrate are all good choices.

How soon after taking iron supplements will I feel better?

Back when I was diagnosed and started taking iron supplements for anemia, I noticed a real change after about 2-3 months.

It’s gradual. But around 2-3 months after taking supplements, and changing my diet, I was able to look back and say, “Wow, I feel a lot better.”

Please keep in mind that I also changed my diet too!

I had to stop being a vegetarian because I was not getting enough iron and other nutrients through a vegetarian diet.

While you can definitely be a healthy vegetarian, just keep in mind that changing your diet is the real key to success here.

An iron supplement is meant to complement!


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About the Author

Hi, I'm Jared and my mission is to help see their relationship to food differently. I'm a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Certified Dietary Supplement Specialist.


For more info about my story read here.

@jared_levenson

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