April 17, 2024
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why do iron supplements cause nausea

Iron Supplements and Nausea

Iron is essential to building and sustaining healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body, but too much iron may cause nausea and other gastrointestinal side effects.

Iron absorption works best on an empty stomach; food such as milk, calcium supplements, or antacids may hinder its absorption.

Take vitamin C or drink orange juice enriched with iron to increase absorption.


Iron supplements should never be taken on an empty stomach, which may result in side effects like nausea and constipation. To ease symptoms, take your iron supplement with small meals throughout the day; dairy, calcium supplements, antacids, tea/coffee can all interfere with absorption of iron consumed.

Your choice of iron supplementation also plays a part. Ferrous sulfate, iron fumarate and ferrous gluconate all contain similar amounts of elemental iron; however, only certain forms are readily absorbed by your body. When selecting an iron supplement that best meets your needs look for one with a percentage of elemental iron listed on its label as this will ensure maximum absorption by your body.

As an additional tip, consider taking your iron supplement with vitamin C; according to one recent study, taking this combination may increase absorption by 400%!

Another potential reason that iron supplements cause nausea is their interaction with the lining of your GI tract, leading to side effects such as vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. You can avoid this issue by choosing an iron supplement that has been designed to release its iron at its natural absorption site — usually the duodenum — rather than breaking down in your stomach.

Ferosom Forte’s LCE coating serves as an iron bodyguard, protecting its contents from stomach acids while still entering the duodenum intact – leading to IV-level absorption rates and reduced risks of side effects such as nausea. Amazon provides this nutrient-rich iron supplement, offering optimal results by starting slowly with low doses and gradually increasing them every few days, as tolerated. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, instead of taking large doses all at once. Tamar Kane, a registered dietitian and marathon runner specializing in plant-based athletes at risk of iron deficiency, provides advice to ensure they’re absorbing an adequate amount of iron without overdosing on supplements. Her passion lies in teaching others how to fuel their bodies correctly.


Iron (ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate and ferrous sulfate) can help treat and prevent anemia by increasing your healthy red blood cell production. Be sure to follow any directions given by your healthcare provider regarding taking iron; taking too much may result in dangerous side effects like vomiting and stomach discomfort.

When taking oral iron supplements, your stomach absorbs it through the first part of your small intestine, known as the duodenum. Iron encountering stomach acid converts it to Fe+3 before being converted back to Fe+2 by your body for absorption in your small intestine. Tablets and liquids tend to be better absorbed than capsules for absorption into your small intestine, while enteric-coated supplements with slow release may work better due to reduced risk of gastrointestinal irritation; enteric coating can reduce risks while improving performance as they release slowly over time allowing more efficient absorption by your small intestine – more likely cause less gastrointestinal irritation while working better for some people.

If possible, take iron on an empty stomach to ensure its effective absorption into your system. However, if this method proves difficult or causes digestive upset for you, speak to your physician as they may recommend another type or dose that reduces side effects.

Consuming iron with food may increase its absorption as your stomach is more acidic when digesting food. You should avoid taking antacids, caffeine and calcium supplements or foods when taking iron since they could interfere with its absorption. Adding vitamin C supplements or drinking orange juice could further aid absorption.

If your iron supplementation is leading to constipation, adding fiber could help. There are also iron supplements with built-in stool softeners such as docusate sodium which may provide relief. If symptoms don’t improve with either strategy, consult your physician as they may suggest other solutions such as stool softeners.

Rarely, high doses of iron may produce severe gastrointestinal side effects like vomiting and diarrhea, so if these occur it’s important to contact either your doctor or local poison control center immediately. Other signs include metallic flavor in your mouth, blue/white fingers/toenails and weakness as symptoms of overdose.


If you are taking iron supplements and experiencing side effects such as stomach upset, nausea or constipation, there are steps you can take to alleviate them. Try taking smaller doses or different forms of iron; additionally it may help if taken along with meals or snacks rather than on an empty stomach.

Alternatively, consult with your physician if the symptoms become bothersome; they may prescribe an increased dosage or stronger formulation of iron to alleviate them. Probiotic supplements may also aid and absorption.

Orzax Liposomal Iron

Ferrous sulfate is the most widely consumed oral iron supplement. This can be taken alone or combined with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C for increased absorption. Some people may find they tolerate iron better when taken as liquid form such as fizz elixir, in which case consider NOW’s vegan-friendly Fizz Elixir which contains ferrous bisglycinate for increased absorption with less stomach discomfort than traditional forms.

This elixir is dairy and gluten free, and produced in Australia at facilities certified as meeting Current Good Manufacturing Practices by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. Studies have demonstrated its ability to enhance iron absorption while decreasing side effects like nausea, constipation and diarrhea that often accompany iron supplements.

An adequate supply of iron is crucial to healthy living. Iron helps your body produce hemoglobin and myoglobin, which transport oxygen throughout your tissues and organs. People with chronically low levels are at increased risk of anemia due to menstrual bleeding or childbirth, certain illnesses that suppress blood production or conditions which prevent adequate intestinal absorption of iron.

If you are at risk for anemia, healthcare providers will advise taking iron supplements to restore normal levels. Your healthcare professional will assess how much iron is necessary and determine the most efficient method for taking it based on your health history and any GI issues you have.


Iron supplements should only ever be taken as part of a balanced diet and taken in conjunction with recommended intake of nutrient-rich foods, so as to not exceed recommended daily amounts. It is unlikely you’ll need high doses, but if necessary, consult with your physician regarding dosage and timing to avoid potential side effects from overdosing on iron supplements.

Stomach upset is one of the primary adverse reactions of iron supplements and may be caused by various factors. Iron must pass through your stomach acid before being absorbed, and certain foods (beans, nuts, spinach and egg whites) may inhibit its absorption. Furthermore, taking too much iron could result in serious side effects including inflammation of stomach lining or ulceration and constipation.

If you are taking high doses of iron supplements, it is essential that your dosage be divided throughout the day and does not exceed what is prescribed by your physician. Too much iron may cause unpleasant gastrointestinal side-effects such as nausea, abdominal pain, constipation diarrhea and vomiting and in extreme cases it can even cause organ failure and lead to death.

Keep iron supplements out of the reach of children, even those packaged for child safety, to prevent accidental overdose and reduce risks that may become life-threatening.

Ferosom Forte iron supplements are designed with optimal absorption in mind. Their Liposomal coating protects them from stomach acids for rapid absorption without side-effects such as those seen with other brands.

Be sure to select an iron supplement certified as pure and safe by an independent third-party certification agency such as U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab or NSF International – these agencies inspect manufacturing processes and quality controls of dietary supplements prior to being sold for consumption. Furthermore, store it away from direct sunlight as this could degrade its active ingredients over time.

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