Liquid Iron Supplements: A Guide
While iron supplements help boost iron levels, usually in the form of traditional capsules or tablets, some people have trouble swallowing pills or experience gastrointestinal side effects from iron tablets.
This has led to an increasing interest in liquid iron supplements as an alternative. Liquid iron supplements contain iron in a liquid form, suspended in a liquid medium that makes the iron easier to absorb.
But is liquid iron actually better than traditional iron tablets?
We'll cover this in detail below.
What are the benefits of liquid iron?
Liquid iron supplements have a number of potential benefits over other forms of iron, including:
Enhanced Absorption Rates: One of the key advantages of liquid iron supplements is their enhanced bioavailability. In the context of pharmacokinetics, bioavailability refers to the proportion of a substance that enters circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect. The iron in liquid form is already in a dissolved state, circumventing the need for digestive breakdown that solid forms require. Scientifically, this allows for more immediate and effective uptake into the bloodstream.
Reduced Gastrointestinal Side Effects: Liquid iron tends to produce fewer gastrointestinal side effects like constipation and stomach upset. Scientific research suggests that quicker and more efficient absorption in the digestive system reduces the amount of unabsorbed iron that can irritate the gut lining. This makes liquid iron a better tolerated option for many individuals.
Convenience and Versatility: Liquid iron supplements offer a level of convenience that solid forms often cannot match. They can be ingested with or without food, and their liquid state allows for easier dosing adjustments. Furthermore, they can be mixed with juices or other beverages to improve palatability. This feature is particularly useful for individuals with swallowing difficulties, such as young children or elderly adults.
Which Liquid Iron Supplement is Best?
Below we've compared 8 different liquid iron supplements across a range of factors including form, dosage, ingredients, price, and side effects.
Is Liquid Iron Better Than Capsules or Tablets?
Liquid iron supplements do often provide advantages over capsules and tablets. The liquid form is easier to absorb, quicker to take effect, and can be more gentle on the digestive system.
For those who have difficulty swallowing pills, liquid iron is a practical alternative. High-quality products like Nano Iron outperform their solid counterparts by offering a gentle and effective way to optimise iron levels, without discomfort.
Comparison of Top Liquid Iron Supplements & Potential Side Effects
Here is a comparison of the different forms of iron and potential side effects in these liquid iron supplements:
- Spatone: Contains ferrous iron (Fe2+) which can often cause constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.
- Floradix, Salus Floravita, and Feroglobin: Contain ferrous gluconate. This form frequently leads to the same gastrointestinal issues as ferrous iron.
- BetterYou Iron Daily Oral Spray: Uses ferric EDTA (Fe3+) which is less irritating but still linked to stomach upset in some people.
- Vitabiotics Feroglobin Plus Liquid: Uses iron citrate which is moderately bioavailable but can provoke diarrhea.
- BioCare Nutrisorb Iron: Relies on iron gluconate, another type with high chances of constipation, nausea, etc.
- Nano Iron by the Health Factory: Contains pure nano-sized iron particles suspended in water. The tiny size allows efficient absorption without gut irritation, so nano iron rarely causes side effects.
If you're looking for an iron supplement with minimal side effects and potential gastrointestinal discomfort, try:
How Quickly Do Liquid Iron Supplements Work?
The efficacy and speed at which liquid iron supplements work depend on a variety of factors, including the type of iron used, its bioavailability, and individual health conditions. Traditional iron supplements contain iron compounds such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, or ferrous gluconate, which need to be broken down in the digestive system. The actual iron absorbed by the body from these compounds is quite low, ranging from 10% to 15% in healthy individuals, and up to 50% in those with iron-deficiency anaemia. This means that when taking a 100mg iron compound supplement, you're actually absorbing only around 1.8mg of elemental iron, often less if your gut is compromised.
In contrast, Nano Iron offers a significant advantage in terms of bioavailability. It features iron particles between 0.5 and 7 nanometres in size, dissolved in purified water. Because of this unique formulation, Nano Iron bypasses the gut entirely and is directly absorbed into the cells. This results in 100% bioavailability, making it highly efficient at improving iron levels in the body. In terms of dosage, if a healthcare professional recommends 100mg of a regular iron supplement, approximately 30-35ml of Nano Iron would offer comparable absorption rates but without the side effects commonly associated with traditional iron supplements.
Therefore, the speed at which you might see the effects of liquid iron supplements like Nano Iron can be notably faster compared to traditional forms, given its higher bioavailability and direct cellular absorption.
In severe cases of iron deficiency, Nano Iron allows for a higher intake—up to 90-120 ml per day—without the risk of overdosing or experiencing side effects. Always take Nano Iron on an empty stomach and hold it in your mouth for a minute or two before swallowing, as recommended.
This makes Nano Iron an especially potent and fast-acting option for those looking to address iron deficiency or anaemia in a more efficient manner.
Who Should Take Liquid Iron Supplements?
Individuals who have difficulty absorbing iron from solid forms, those experiencing gastrointestinal side effects from tablet or capsule supplements, and pregnant women in need of better absorption are prime candidates for taking liquid iron supplements.
Liquid iron is also particularly beneficial for those with gastrointestinal conditions, such as Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome, where absorption of nutrients from solid forms can be compromised.
Pregnant women may also benefit from liquid iron due to its higher bioavailability, aiding in the increased demand for iron during pregnancy without causing gastrointestinal discomfort commonly associated with other forms.
In cases where rapid absorption of iron is desired—such as severe iron-deficiency anaemia—liquid iron supplements can be more effective. For instance, Nano Iron's highly bioavailable formula is directly absorbed into cells, making it a fast-acting option.
Here are those who could benefit:
Individuals with Iron-Deficiency Anaemia: Liquid iron is rapidly absorbed, making it an effective option for treating anaemia quickly.
Pregnant Women: The increased bioavailability of liquid iron can meet the elevated iron needs during pregnancy more effectively than solid forms.
People with Gastrointestinal Conditions: Conditions like Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other malabsorption issues can make absorbing iron from solid supplements challenging.
Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts: Rapid absorption can help meet elevated iron needs due to frequent physical exercise.
Vegetarians and Vegans: Those who don't consume meat may find it challenging to get enough iron from their diet alone and may benefit from a more easily absorbed form.
Elderly Individuals: Older adults may have compromised nutrient absorption and could benefit from a more bioavailable form of iron.
Children with Iron Deficiency: Liquid iron can be easier for children to consume and absorb, compared to tablets or capsules.
Individuals Experiencing Gastrointestinal Side Effects: Those who find iron tablets or capsules cause stomach upset, constipation, or other digestive issues may find relief with liquid forms.
People with Dietary Restrictions: Those who are gluten or lactose intolerant can choose liquid iron supplements that are free from these allergens.
Patients Undergoing Medical Treatments: Individuals receiving treatments such as chemotherapy that may lead to iron deficiency could benefit from liquid iron's rapid absorption.
Does Liquid Iron Have Fewer Side Effects?
The side effects associated with iron supplementation are often more related to the type of iron used rather than its form (liquid, tablet, or capsule). Common iron forms such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate are known to cause gastrointestinal issues, including constipation and stomach upset, regardless of whether they are in liquid or solid form.
However, Nano Iron presents a unique case. Composed of 100% elemental iron in nanoparticle form, it is directly absorbed into cells, bypassing the gastrointestinal system entirely. As a result, most users experience no side effects, setting it apart from other types of iron supplements, whether liquid or solid.
So, while liquid iron doesn't inherently have fewer side effects than its solid counterparts, the specific formulation of Nano Iron does offer this advantage.