How Long Do Iron Supplements Take To Work

Iron Supplements

Iron is one of the vital minerals to our health. All of our cells have some iron, but iron primarily concentrates in the body’s red blood cells which are responsible for oxygen transportation from our lungs to the body’s organs and tissues. For those with anemia, iron supplements can be the indispensable solution to keep the body healthy. Therefore, “How long do iron supplements take to work?” can be the big question. In this article, we will discover the interesting topic.

What is the role of iron?

Iron plays an indispensable in making energy from nutrients. Iron is also responsible for the nerve impulse transmission — the signals which are responsible for the actions of different body parts. If you have got more iron amount than needed, it will be stored in the body for the future use. Normally, all people get all the iron needed from the foods. However, there are also many certain cases in which iron supplements become necessary.

What is Anemia?

A protein named Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells.  For those with anemia, the body cannot make enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen to all the cells of the body. Our bone marrow creates red blood cells which use vitamin B-12 and iron. Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin is lower than normal.

Normal levels of hemoglobin vary between men and women. In men, the normal levels of hemoglobin are normally more than 13.5 gram/100 ml while in women the normal levels of hemoglobin are normally more than 12.0 gram/100 ml.  According to the National Anemia Action Council (NAAC), iron deficiency is the main cause of anemia. Even though most people can get enough iron from daily meals, some cases get difficulty in absorbing the mineral.

What are the signs and symptoms of anemia?

symptoms of anemia

Anemia can be caused by a decrease in red blood cell or hemoglobin production, or by an increase in loss (owing to bleeding) or the red blood cell destruction.

In some cases, patients with anemia may have no symptoms. However, in most cases, the common signs and symptoms of anemia include:

  • Tired
  • Hair loss
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Appear pale
  • Fatigue easily
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Develop palpitations
  • Nervous feeling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

What are iron supplements?

Iron supplements are the most solution commonly used for some certain kinds of anemia. Iron supplements can often be prescribed to cure anemia caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Kidney disease
  • Heavy menstrual periods

People who easily have the risk of iron deficiency are primarily preterm infants, kids, children, teenage girls, pregnant women, and those with some certain health conditions such as chronic heart failure, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. In hospital and many health journals, iron supplements are often recommended for pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Other health problems can also treat with iron supplements.

How Long Do Iron Supplements Take To Work:

Do Iron Supplement

Iron absorption is a complex phenomenon because the supplement effectiveness of iron is based on various factors. Here are some factors which contribute or impact the iron absorption.


It is important to answer your question “How long do iron supplements take to work?” because it helps you know how many iron supplements the body needs. The Office of Dietary Supplements said that infants and children under 13 years old are not taken more than 40 mg each day. The reason behind this is the maximum dosage of iron supplements years old can cause some negative effects for children under 13 who do not have the risk of iron excess. Children between 13 to 19 should take enough 45 mg each day. This dosage is also described for pregnant and breastfeeding women; however, mothers should follow supplement dosage recommended by doctors before taking iron supplements. Adults should take from 150 to 300 mg of iron each day. There are some common signs of iron excess including numbness, backache stomach cramps, and muscle pain. If you use less than the required amount, you will see no change. In turn, taking jumbo-dosages is also not a good solution either.

Absorption Rate:

According to nutritionists, the body needs enough time to absorb appropriate amounts of iron. Drinking a spreading amount of iron supplements at the same time will not do well for the cells.

The quality of iron supplements:

It plays an important part in the iron absorption process. Nowadays, there are many drug stores which provide you various types of iron supplements. Therefore, you need to choose supplements from trusted companies or providers because the supplements’ quality affects directly how long iron supplements take to work.


Taking iron supplements with calcium-rich food and dairy products can affect the absorption process of iron because of their calcium amount. Dairy products include milk, cheese, yogurts, or ice-cream. According to a 2010 study of “Milk and Milk Products in Human Nutrition, infants who consume large cow’s milk will have a higher possibility of the iron deficiency in comparison with those who don’t. Also, another study showed that dairy products could limit iron absorption from 50 to 60 percent.

Other foods also affect the iron absorption including:

  • Caffeine
  • Dietary fiber
  • Tea or coffee
  • Products from soybeans
  • Phytates in beans or whole grains
  • Polyphenols in wine, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

In conclusion, if you take huge amounts of iron each day, the body cannot absorb all of that iron.  So how long do iron supplements take to work? The answer to this question is mentioned thoroughly in this article.  We hope all you guy can find the useful information throughout the website, if there are any ideas for this topic, please leave comments below.


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