Side Effects Of Using Iron Supplements: Know Them

Iron deficiencies can lead to some health issues


  1. Iron supplements can sometimes lead to gastro problems
  2. For a person above 14 years of age, 45 mg of iron is termed as overdose
  3. Excess consumption of iron supplements may result in zinc deficiencies

Your body needs iron, it really does. Iron deficiencies can lead to some health issues. If you are deficient, your doctor may prescribe you iron supplements. You can make up for the deficiency with the help of iron-rich foods, but this one will be a time-taking process. Besides this, your doctor would also tell you how much iron you really need. It is not wise to fill up on iron supplements completely. Patients must know what the right dosage is.

Here we enlist 8 most common side effects of iron supplementation.

1. Stained teeth

If you are taking iron supplements in the liquid form, you must mix them with something and then take. This way it will not be strong enough to stain your teeth. Mix them with water or fruit juice and drink with a straw. Doing this will prevent the supplement from coming in direct contact with your teeth. If you have retained some stains, you can try brushing with baking soda to get rid of them.


Stained teeth is a side effect of iron supplements
Photo Credit: iStock2. Gastrointestinal problems

Iron supplements can sometimes lead to gastro problems like abdominal discomfort, constipation, diarrhea or cramps. Try taking them with food or before and after your meals. If you are dealing with constipation after taking these supplements, you may take a stool softener to deal with the problem.

stomach ache

Iron supplements can lead to gastro problems
Photo Credit: iStock

3. Nausea and vomiting

Sometimes a high dosage of iron supplements can lead to nausea and vomiting. You may feel a metallic taste in your mouth. This can be controlled by reducing the dosage. You can even check with your doctor to know if there are some safer supplements, with a lower concentration of iron. Usually, ferrous sulfate is recommended. This one has a high concentration of iron. To combat this effect, doctors may recommend ferrous gluconate which has a lower iron concentration.

4. Low blood pressure

If excess iron gets into your body, it can interfere with your circulatory system. You might end up with a low blood pressure, a weak or rapid pulse and you could even feel dehydrated.

blood pressure

Iron supplements may lead to low blood pressure
Photo Credit: iStock5. Change in skin tone

Loss of skin color, lips and a bluish tinge in the fingertips could be a sign of iron overdose. Typically, for a person under 13 years of age, 40 mg of iron in a day is termed as an overdose. And for a person above 14 years of age, 45 mg of iron is termed as an overdose. Iron overdose can be harmful to children under 6 years of age. So be mindful of your portions and check with your doctor to know your iron requirement.

6. Hampers the absorption of zinc

Zinc is also important for your body. Deficiency of zinc may result in growth problems in children, sexual problems, and impotence in some cases. It may even result in loss of hair, appetite, skin and eyesores and even diarrhea. What iron does is it prevents zinc absorption in the body? Excess consumption of iron supplements may result in zinc deficiencies. So if you are on iron supplements, you must fill up on zinc-rich foods.


Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss
Photo Credit: iStock

7. Dark stools

To some extent, it is normal for your stools to change color and develop a blackish or grayish tinge. Some experts believe that it is a sign of the fact that your supplements are working. However, it could also be a symptom of internal bleeding. So if you notice that your stools are tarry and have a blackish tinge, you must get it checked by your doctor. Even if you see streaks of blood in it, it is time for you to get checked if something is going wrong. Stomach sores or excess abdominal pain is also a sign that something is going wrong.

8. Fluid build-up in lungs

Excess consumption of iron supplements can lead to fluid accumulation in your lungs. Fluid build-up in lungs can show symptoms like shortness of breath, pale skin, too much sweating and wheezing. It could also show symptoms of anxiety and difficulty in breathing while lying down.

cold and cough

Fluid buil-up in lungs may lead to wheezing
Photo Credit: iStockDespite the fact that it is necessary for your overall health, an excess of iron supplementation can take a negative toll on your health. If we look at the daily requirement of iron, 8 mg of iron is recommended for adult men, 18 mg for adult women, and 27 mg for pregnant women and about 11 mg for kids. Surpassing this daily requirement may backfire on your health.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.