Iron Supplements That DON'T Cause Constipation

While iron supplements may help maintain healthy levels, they often cause constipation. Surprisingly, up to half of those who start on iron supplements may experience this issue, affecting not just their comfort but also their adherence to treatment.(1,2) 

For some, iron constipation becomes a serious concern requiring medical intervention, or even forcing them to stop taking iron altogether. 

Fortunately, advancements like Nano Iron offer a glimmer of hope. This article will delve into the science behind iron-induced constipation and present ways to avoid it.

Is Your Iron Causing Constipation?

Iron supplements, particularly those containing ferrous iron, are known to cause gastrointestinal side effects, including constipation. This is a common concern among individuals taking iron.

With soluble iron supplements, the iron which is not absorbed stays in the gut long enough for certain bacteria to start using it for its own benefit. 

Nano Iron is designed to to offer the tiniest particles of pure iron (elemental) that can be easily absorbed, and thus potentially reduce the unabsorbed iron that disrupts the microbiome.


Which Form of Iron is the Least Constipating?

When it comes to selecting iron supplements a qualified health professional can help you in considering what is right for you:

  1. Nano Iron: Nano iron, characterised by significantly smaller particle size than traditional iron supplements, and 99.99% pure, it is highly absorbable and does not rely on digestive processes.

  2. Ferrous Bisglycinate: This form of iron is renowned for its high absorbability and digestive friendliness. 

  3. Iron Amino Acid Chelates: These organic compounds combine iron with amino acids, enhancing both absorption and digestive tolerance making it another potential choice for those concerned about digestive discomfort.

  4. Heme Iron Supplements: Derived from animal-based foods, heme iron is known for its easy absorption by the body. Heme iron supplements are considered to be easily digestible and thus less likely to contribute to constipation.

  5. Slow-Release Iron Supplements: Specifically designed to release iron gradually over an extended period, these supplements aim to minimize the risk of constipation and related digestive issues. Their slow-release mechanism ensures a gentle approach to iron supplementation.

Disclaimer: The effectiveness and side effects of iron supplements can vary from person to person. Consult a healthcare provider to find the best iron supplement for your needs.

Why Do Iron Supplements Make you Constipated?

Iron supplements can cause constipation mainly because:

  1. Poor Absorption:  This can result in the formation of insoluble complexes that lead to the creation of hard, dry stools.
  2. Nutrient Interference: Iron can disrupt the absorption of other essential nutrients, such as calcium and zinc, which are crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system. This disruption can affect the regularity of bowel movements.
  3. Gut Microbiome Disruption and Slowed Peristalsis: An may affect an imbalance that could can slow down peristalsis, the wave-like muscle contractions that moves food through the digestive tract. Slower peristalsis means longer retention of waste in the intestines, leading to increased water absorption from the waste and resulting in dryer stools.

Tips to Help Reduce Occasional Constipation from Iron Supplements

To mitigate the risk of occasional constipation from iron supplements, consider the following strategies:

  1. Hydration: Drinking ample water can help soften stools and promote regular bowel movements.

  2. Dietary Fibre: Foods rich in fibre, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can aid in bowel regularity.

  3. Regular Exercise: Exercise can stimulate intestinal activity and improve digestive health.

  4. Iron Formulation: Consider switching to a different form of iron supplement like Nano Iron which may be easier to absorb.

  5. Stool Softeners: Utilise stool softeners if advised by a healthcare professional. These can help alleviate constipation without interfering with iron absorption.

  6. Timed Intake: Try taking iron supplements at a different time of day. Sometimes, altering the timing of the supplement can reduce side effects.

  7. Gradual Increase: If starting a new iron supplement, begin with a lower dose and gradually increase to the recommended level. This can give your body time to adjust.

  8. Probiotics: Incorporate probiotics into your diet. Probiotics found in yoghurt and other fermented foods can support gut health and regularity.

Always seek advice from a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your supplement regimen or if you experience persistent gastrointestinal discomfort.

Do All Forms of Iron Cause Constipation?

No, not all forms of iron supplements cause constipation. The occurrence of this side effect varies based on the chemical form of the iron and its bioavailability.

Traditional ferrous-based forms like ferrous sulfate are less bioavailable and can result in gastrointestinal irritation, including constipation. On the other hand, Nano Iron is pure (without compounds) and very small which means greater bioavailability, allowing for cellular absorption and reduced side effects.

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Is Liquid Iron Better for Constipation?

No, liquid iron is not inherently better for preventing constipation compared to other forms of iron. The potential for constipation largely depends on the chemical form of iron and its bioavailability, rather than its physical state as liquid or solid.

Liquid iron supplements are often made from the same chemical forms as their solid counterparts, such as ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate. Consequently, their impact on the gastrointestinal system can be similar. However, liquid iron allows for easier dose adjustment, which may enable individuals to find a tolerable level that minimizes constipation.

Additionally, liquid iron may be combined with other ingredients, like fruit juices high in Vitamin C, that can aid in iron absorption and possibly reduce the chance of constipation. It's essential to note, however, that these additional ingredients may also contain sugars or other compounds that could have their own undesirable effects.

Nano Iron: An Iron that Doesn't Cause Constipation

Containing only 99.99% elemental iron at any extremely tiny size, nano iron is not bonded to any other substances and provides a highly absorbable iron usually without contributing to any adverse side effects.

You should consult a qualified health professional for guidance on use especially if you have or believe you have a health condition.

Nano Iron has the additional benefits that it is tasteless, odourless and 100% free from additives.

Learn more about our nano iron supplement.

NB:  while Nano Iron may have fewer side effects, individual experiences can vary, and it's always advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially for those with pre-existing health conditions or who are taking other medications.


Frequently Asked Questions: Iron and Constipation

Does Iron Supplementation Always Cause Constipation?

No, iron supplementation does not invariably cause constipation. The risk varies depending on factors such as the form of iron, its bioavailability, and individual gastrointestinal responses.

Does Ferrous Fumarate Cause Constipation?

Ferrous fumarate, a commonly used form of iron, can cause gastrointestinal side effects like constipation in some individuals, particularly if taken in higher doses.

Does Ferrous Sulfate Cause Constipation?

Ferrous sulfate is another common form of iron that has been reported to cause constipation in some users. It may be more likely to induce gastrointestinal symptoms compared to other forms of iron.

How Can I Minimise Constipation While Taking Iron?

Combining iron with Vitamin C may improve its absorption and mitigate the risk of constipation. It may also help to start with a lower dose and gradually increase as your system adapts.

Is There a Form of Iron That is Less Likely to Cause Constipation?

Nano Iron is 99.99% pure elemental iron (meaning there are no compounds) and the particles are so small (the size of single atoms) it means this form of iron is as bioavailable as it gets, which in turn means it is less likely to result in constipation.

Can Liquid Iron Reduce the Risk of Constipation?

Liquid iron forms are generally easier on the stomach and may be less likely to cause constipation, though individual results may vary.

Does Taking Iron with Food Affect the Risk of Constipation?

Taking iron with food can reduce its absorption but may also lessen gastrointestinal discomfort and the risk of constipation.

Can a Fiber-Rich Diet Help When Taking Iron Supplements?

A diet rich in fiber can often help in alleviating constipation symptoms when you are on an iron supplement regimen.

Do Slow-Release Iron Supplements Reduce Constipation?

Slow-release formulations may reduce the risk of constipation, but they also tend to have lower bioavailability.

How Long Does It Take for Iron-Induced Constipation to Resolve?

Generally, symptoms improve once the body adapts to the supplement, which can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. For persistent symptoms, consult your healthcare provider.

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