What Are The Signs Your Iron Pills Are Working (or Not)?

If you're taking iron supplements, you're likely keen to know when and how these may begin to make a positive impact on your health. 

The signs that iron pills are working will vary with each individual and for this reason I always recommend consulting with a qualified health professional so that you have the best possibility at achieving your goals of a well balanced iron level.

With the right iron, taken in the right amount and in the right way, most should start to feel better within as little as two weeks, though you'll need a blood test to provide quantitative confirmation of improvement.


Signs your Iron is Working

    What are the Signs Your Iron Pills are Working?

    Here are some key signs that indicate your iron pills are doing their job:

    1. Better energy levels: One of the most noticeable signs your iron pills are working is a boost in your energy. If you find yourself feeling less tired and more capable of tackling daily tasks, it's a good indication your iron levels are improving.
    2. Better concentration and focus: Iron deficiency can lead to brain fog and difficulty concentrating. If you notice your mental clarity improving and you're able to focus more easily, it suggests your iron supplementation is effective.
    3. Healthier skin, hair, and nails: Iron plays a crucial role in the health of your skin, hair, and nails. If you observe your skin looking more vibrant, your hair feeling stronger, and your nails becoming less brittle, it's a sign your iron levels are on the rise.
    4. Improved athletic performance: Iron is essential for optimal athletic performance. If you find yourself able to exercise more efficiently, with increased endurance and faster recovery times, it's likely your iron pills are working.
    5. Less frequent restless leg syndrome: For some people, iron deficiency can cause restless leg syndrome. If you notice a decrease in the frequency or severity of this condition, it's a positive sign your iron levels are improving.

    Iron Supplement is NOT Working?

    Here's how to tell if your iron supplements aren't working:

    1. Continued Fatigue: Persistent tiredness, despite taking the supplement, is a common sign. Iron is essential for energy production, and a lack of improvement in energy levels could indicate the supplement's ineffectiveness.

    2. No Improvement in Blood Tests: If blood tests, such as haemoglobin and ferritin levels, show no improvement, this suggests the supplement may not be working.

    3. Ongoing Shortness of Breath or Heart Palpitations: These symptoms  should improve with effective iron supplementation.

    4. Pale Skin and Gums: A lack of colour in areas like the inside of your lower eyelids, skin, and gums.

    5. Brittle Nails or Hair Loss: These can be symptoms of iron deficiency. If they persist after supplementation, and therefore it may not be effective for you.

    6. Craving Non-Food Items: This is known as pica and can include cravings for items like ice, dirt, or starch.

    If you experience these symptoms, I strongly urge you consult a healthcare professional. They may suggest a different form of iron, a higher dose, or investigate other underlying causes for your symptoms.

    How Long Do Iron PillsTake to Work?

    Iron pills usually take about 14 days to see results, although users of Nano Iron (a pure liquid form) generally reportd improvements in less time.

    Replenishing majorly depleted iron stores will take longer still, perhaps at least three months, or more.  

    The time it takes to see measurable improvements can vary depending on a number of factors, including:

    • The severity of your need for iron
    • Your individual metabolism
    • The type of iron supplement you are taking
    • Whether you have any other medical conditions that could affect iron absorption

    In general, people with mild to moderately low iron levels should expect to start feeling better within 1-4 weeks of taking iron supplements, if the absorption is good.

    However, people who are more severely low on iron, and/or have underlying medical conditions may need to take iron supplements for several months before they see significant improvement and this most certainly should be supervised by a qualified health professional.

    How Long Does It Take for an Iron Pill to Kick In?

    Generally, for those with mild to moderate iron deficiency, it is reasonable to anticipate an improvement within 1 to 4 weeks of consistent iron supplement intake.

    However, if you are dealing with severe lack of iron or have other underlying conditions, you may require several months of supplementing under professional guidance before experiencing benefits.

    How to Take Iron Pills

    The commonly recommended approach is to take iron pills on an empty stomach, usually an hour before meals or two hours after, to increase absorption. However, if you're taking conventional iron pills (such as ferrous fumarate) you might experience nausea or stomach upsetin which case having some food in your stomach can mitigate these side effects.

    Additionally, certain foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, and dairy products, can inhibit iron absorption. On the other hand, vitamin C helps iron absorption, so taking your pill with a glass of orange juice may be beneficial.

    It's also important to adhere to the dosage prescribed by your healthcare provider, as excessive iron can be harmful and lead to adverse effects.

    Of course, these rules change completely if you're taking Nano Iron which should be taken on an empty stomach, and doesn't require vitamin C for maximum absorption.

    When You Start Taking Nano Iron

    Nano Iron is a tasteless, odourless, purified water that is energised with 99.99% pure elemental iron particles the size of atoms. Because of these qualities (which are a first in the world of supplements) Nano Iron is highly absorbable.

    But there are a few things you and your doctor or health care professional need to understand about how it works compared to traditional iron supplements.

    Nano iron, due to its high bioavailability can initially lead to seemingly paradoxical results in blood tests:

    1. Reduction in Serum Iron Levels: If you were previously taking a low bioavailability iron supplement, a significant amount of iron may have remained unabsorbed in your bloodstream. These forms of iron contribute to the serum iron levels in blood tests. When switching to nano iron, this unabsorbed iron can reduce as the nano iron is more efficiently absorbed and utilised by cells. Therefore, you are likely to observe a decrease in serum iron levels in the first blood test after starting nano iron and this should not necessarily indicate ineffectiveness.

    2. Actual Delivery to Cells: The primary goal of nano iron is its ability to deliver iron directly to the cells where it is needed. This process might temporarily lower the measurable iron in your bloodstream, which can be misleading if not correctly interpreted.

    3. Long-term Benefits: Over time, as your body adjusts to the more efficient absorption and utilisation of iron, subsequent blood tests should show a more accurate reflection of your iron status. This may include improvements in haemoglobin and ferritin levels.

    4. Symptomatic Improvement: Despite initial blood test results, pay attention to symptomatic changes. Improvements in energy levels, reduction in fatigue, and other symptoms can be a more immediate and reliable indicator.

    5. Consultation with a Healthcare Professional: It's crucial to discuss these factors with a qualified nutritionist, naturopath or healthcare professional. They can interpret blood test results in the context of your overall health and the type of iron supplement you are taking. They may also advise on the appropriate dosage and duration of supplementation.



    Signs That Your Iron Pills Are Working – FAQ

    Q: How soon can I expect to feel better after starting iron pills?
    A: For mild issues, many people report feeling better within a week. However, for more severe issues or underlying health conditions, it may take several weeks to  a few months to notice under professional guidance.
    Q: Can lab tests confirm that my iron pills are effective?
    A: Yes, lab tests measuring iron levels, hemoglobin, and hematocrit can provide objective evidence of the effectiveness of your iron supplement regimen.
    Q: Are there any side effects that may actually indicate the pills are working?
    A: Mild gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach upset are common when you initially start taking iron pills and usually indicate that your body is absorbing the iron. However, these issues are not usually observed with the nano iron which could be due to its purity and high absorbability.
    Q: Can taking iron pills change the color of my stool?
    A: Yes, it's common for iron pills to darken the color of your stool. This is usually not a cause for concern and is a sign that the body is processing the iron. This usually does not happen with nano iron.
    Q: Are there supplements that can enhance the effectiveness of my iron pills? A: Vitamin C may help in the absorption of iron. Taking your iron pill with a glass of orange juice may enhance its effectiveness. Or we simply recommend nano iron for optimum bioavailability.
    Q: If I don't notice any improvements, how long should I wait before consulting a doctor?
    A: If you haven't noticed any improvements after a few weeks, it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and potential adjustment to your treatment plan.