Iron is a mineral. Most of the iron in the body is found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells and in the myoglobin of muscle cells. Iron is needed for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide. It also has other important roles in the body.
People take iron supplements for preventing and treating low levels of iron (iron deficiency) and the resulting iron deficiency anemia. In people with iron deficiency anemia, the red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the body because they don’t have enough iron. People with this condition often feel very tired.
Iron is also used for improving athletic performance and learning problems, and treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), restless legs syndrome (RLS), and canker sores. Some people also use iron for Crohn’s disease, heart failure, breath-holding attacks in children, growth in children, depression, fatigue, improving thinking, and the inability to get pregnant.
Women sometimes take iron supplements to make up for iron lost in heavy menstrual periods. Iron-rich foods, such as pork, ham, chicken, fish, beans, and especially beef, liver, and lamb are also used.
How does it work?
Iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to cells all over the body. Once the oxygen is delivered, iron then helps red blood cells carry carbon dioxide waste back to the lungs to be exhaled. Iron also plays a role in many important chemical reactions in the body.
- Anemia caused by chronic disease. Many diseases such as cancer, kidney problems, or heart problems can cause anemia. Taking iron along with other medications such as epoetin alfa can help build red blood cells and reverse anemia in people with kidney problems or being treated for cancer with chemotherapy. Receiving iron intravenously is more effective than taking supplements by mouth.
- Iron deficiency. Taking iron supplements is effective for treating and preventing iron deficiency and anemia caused by too little iron in the body.
- Iron deficiency during pregnancy. Taking iron might reduce the risk of anemia caused by too little iron in the body when taken by women who are pregnant.
Possibly Effective for…
- Coughs caused by ACE inhibitors. Medications used for high blood pressure called ACE inhibitors can sometimes cause coughing as a side effect. Some research shows that taking an iron supplement might reduce or prevent this side effect. The ACE inhibitor medications include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), and many others.
- Improving thinking. Taking iron might help improve thinking, learning, and memory in children with low levels of iron. An early study suggests that taking iron might improve attention in adolescent girls with unknown iron status.
- Heart failure. Up to 20% of people who have heart failure also have low levels of iron in the body. Some research shows that giving iron intravenously can improve symptoms of heart failure. It is not yet known if taking an iron supplement by mouth would help.
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS). Research shows that taking iron by mouth decreases symptoms of RLS such as leg discomfort and sleep problems. In fact, taking iron to improve symptoms is recommended for people with RLS and low iron levels. Some people with RLS also have improved symptoms after having iron injected into the vein (by IV). But it’s too soon to know if all forms of iron work when given by IV.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Developing research shows that taking iron sulfate (an iron-containing chemical compound) improves some measures of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with iron deficiency after 1-3 months of treatment.
- Breath-holding attacks. Early research suggests that taking iron by mouth or through a shot reduces the frequency of breath-holding attacks in children.
- Child development. Early research shows that iron does not improve mental performance in infants and children who do not have anemia. However, there might be an improvement in the development of motor skills such as coordination. Other early evidence suggests that taking iron supplements alone by mouth does not increase growth in children.
- Fatigue. There is some early evidence that a specific iron supplement (Tardyferon) might improve unexplained fatigue in non-anemic women.
- Physical performance. Research shows that iron supplementation can improve the ability to exercise in younger women. Additional early research suggests that iron can improve physical performance in children.
- Canker sores.
- A digestive tract disease called Crohn’s disease.
- Female infertility.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate iron for these uses.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Iron is LIKELY SAFE for most people when it is taken by mouth or injected into the vein in appropriate amounts. However, it can cause side effects including stomach upset and pain, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Taking iron supplements with food seems to reduce some of these side effects. However, food can also reduce how well the body absorbed iron. Iron should be taken on an empty stomach if possible. If it causes too many side effects, it can be taken with food. Try to avoid taking it with foods containing dairy products, coffee, tea, or cereals.
There are many forms of iron products such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous fumarate, and others. Some products, such as those containing polysaccharide-iron complex (Niferex-150, etc), claim to cause fewer side effects than others. But there is no reliable evidence to support this claim.
Some enteric coated or controlled release iron products might reduce nausea for some people; however, these products also have less absorption by the body.
Liquid iron supplements may blacken teeth.
High doses of iron are LIKELY UNSAFE, especially for children. Iron is the most common cause of poisoning deaths in children. Doses as low as 60 mg/kg can be fatal. Iron poisoning can cause many serious problems including stomach and intestinal distress, liver failure, dangerously low blood pressure, and death. If you suspect an adult or child has taken more than the recommended amount of iron, call your healthcare professional or the nearest poison control center immediately.
There is some concern that high intake of iron might increase the chance of developing heart disease. Some studies show that people with high intake of iron, especially from food sources such as red meat, are more likely to have heart disease. This may be especially true for people with type 2 diabetes. But this is controversial. Other studies do not show that iron increases the chance of heart disease. It is too soon to tell for sure if iron increases the chance of heart disease.
Multivitamin with iron is a supplement that contains different vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional substances, including iron.
Iron is a mineral that’s normally found in foods like red meat. In your body, iron is part of hemoglobin — a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and helps muscles store and use oxygen.
Multivitamin with iron is taken to provide vitamins and iron that you don’t get through diet alone.
It’s used to treat a vitamin or iron deficiency caused by different conditions, including poor nutrition, pregnancy, blood loss, digestive disorders, and other health issues.
This supplement is available as both an over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicine. OTC products have lower amounts of iron than prescription forms.
It’s best to discuss the type of supplementation you require with your doctor.
What is the most important information I should know about multivitamins with iron?
Never take more than the recommended dose of a multivitamin. Avoid taking any other multivitamin product within 2 hours before or after you take multivitamins with iron.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Iron and other minerals contained in a multivitamin can also cause serious overdose symptoms if you take too much.
What is multivitamins with iron?
Multivitamins are a combination of many different vitamins that are normally found in foods and other natural sources.
Iron is normally found in foods like red meat. In the body, iron becomes a part of your hemoglobin (HEEM o glo bin) and myoglobin (MY o glo bin). Hemoglobin carries oxygen through your blood to tissues and organs. Myoglobin helps your muscle cells store oxygen.
Multivitamins with iron are used to provide vitamins and iron that are not taken in through the diet. They are also used to treat iron or vitamin deficiencies caused by illness, pregnancy, poor nutrition, digestive disorders, and many other conditions.
Multivitamin and iron may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking multivitamins with iron?
Iron and certain vitamins can cause serious or life-threatening side effects if taken in large doses. Do not take more of this medicine than directed on the label or prescribed by your doctor.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take a multivitamins with iron if you have other medical conditions.
Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are pregnant. Some vitamins and minerals can harm an unborn baby if taken in large doses. You may need to use a prenatal vitamin specially formulated for pregnant women.
Your dose needs may also be different while you are nursing. Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take multivitamins with iron?
Use this medicine as directed on the label, or as your doctor has prescribed. Do not use the medicine in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
Never take more than the recommended dose of multivitamins with iron. Avoid taking any other multivitamin product within 2 hours before or after you take multivitamins with iron. Taking similar vitamin products together at the same time can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.
Many multivitamin products also contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Minerals (especially taken in large doses) can cause side effects such as tooth staining, increased urination, stomach bleeding, uneven heart rate, confusion, and muscle weakness or limp feeling. Read the label of any multivitamin product you take to make sure you are aware of what it contains.
You may take the medicine with food if it upsets your stomach.
The chewable tablet must be chewed or allowed to dissolve in the mouth before swallowing.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Liquid or powder multivitamin may sometimes be mixed with water, fruit juice, or infant formula (but not milk or other dairy products). Follow the mixing directions on the medicine label.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release capsule or tablet. Swallow it whole.
It is important to take multivitamins with iron regularly to get the most benefit.
Store in the original container at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow the liquid to freeze.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Iron and other minerals contained in a multivitamin can also cause serious overdose symptoms.
Overdose symptoms may include severe stomach pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coughing up blood, constipation, loss of appetite, hair loss, peeling skin, warmth or tingly feeling, changes in menstrual periods, weight loss, severe headache, muscle or joint pain, severe back pain, blood in your urine or stools, black and tarry stools, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness, shallow breathing, weak and rapid pulse, pale skin, blue lips, and seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking multivitamins with iron?
Avoid taking any other multivitamin product within 2 hours before or after you take multivitamins with iron. Taking similar vitamin products together at the same time can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.
Avoid taking an antibiotic medicine within 2 hours before or after you take multivitamins with iron. This is especially important if you are taking an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin norfloxacin, doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, and others.
Certain foods can also make it harder for your body to absorb iron. Avoid taking this multivitamin within 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating fish, meat, liver, and whole grain or “fortified” breads or cereals.
Do not take this medicine with milk, other dairy products, calcium supplements, or antacids that contain calcium. Calcium may make it harder for your body to absorb certain ingredients of the multivitamin.
What are the possible side effects of multivitamins with iron?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
When taken as directed, multivitamins are not expected to cause serious side effects.
Call your doctor if you have:
- bright red blood in your stools; or
- pain in your chest or throat when swallowing a tablet.
Common side effects may include:
- constipation, diarrhea;
- nausea, vomiting, heartburn;
- stomach pain, upset stomach;
- black or dark-colored stools or urine;
- temporary staining of the teeth;
- headache; or
- unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect multivitamins with iron?
Other drugs may interact with multivitamins with iron, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.