How Effective is Ferrous Sulfate & What are Its Side Effects?

About Ferrous Sulfate

Ferrous sulfate is an Iron. We usually get iron from our meals. Iron is essential in our bodies for it is part of myoglobin and hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a blood that supplies oxygen to the organs and tissues whereas myoglobin assists the cells in our muscles to store oxygen. Ferrous Sulfate is a very important mineral in your body.

Ferrous sulfate is mostly utilized as iron supplement. Iron supplements are prescribed to prevent or treat anemia iron deficiency. This is a condition whereby hemoglobin production is inhibited due to inadequacy of iron in the blood. Hemoglobin is a pigment that permits red color blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the human body and also giving the blood its red color. Iron based salt is the only portion of iron utilized by our bodies.

How Effective is Ferrous Sulfate?

How Effective is Ferrous Sulfate?

Ferrous sulfate mineral is utilized effectively in treatment of anemia caused by lack of enough iron in the body. Use of iron supplements renews Iron store and revokes anemia condition. Ferrous sulfate is two times effectively absorbed, and is highly soluble just like the iron we get from our meals naturally.

  • Even though ferrous sulfate has a 10% to 15% rate of absorption, the absorption rate is still the same as that of ferrous fumarate and ferrous gluconate. All iron salts have the same rate of gastrointestinal contraindications.
  • Ferrous Sulfate is available in form of an oral liquid or the usual, extended, coated release capsules and tablets. You should swallow the capsules and tablets wholly without chewing, opening or crushing them.
  • The regular dosage ferrous sulfate tablet for treating low iron levels 3 times a day, two hours after a meal or an hour ahead of the meal. But, the physician may prescribe for you a lower if you suffer serious side effects or if you are elderly. Adhere to your doctor’s advice.
  • Intake of iron with food will reduce its effectiveness by 50 percent, & it’s not yet established whether this prevents side effects of gastro intestines.
  • Your condition may improve after a few days of taking Ferrous Sulfate, but you need to complete the dosage given to renew the iron stores in your body.
  • Use the provided dropper to administer the exact dose. You can either mix the drops with fruit juice or water or take it plain. But never use milk.
  • Administering iron supplements together with C vitamin will advance the absorption rate by 48 percent.
  • Iron based supplements can interfere with few types of antacids, antibiotics or other types of supplements. You should never take ferrous sulfate concurrently with other supplements or medications. Ask your pharmacist to advice on how you can separate your time of taking this supplement from other drugs to allow complete absorption.
  • Also make sure that your diet comprises of meals that have high iron levels such as red meat, fish & fortified foods.
  • Take liquid Ferrous sulfate using straw to avoid teeth staining. You can also rub baking soda on your teeth one week before to prevent staining.
  • Store iron supplements away from children as an overdose of iron can cause death.

The effectiveness and response of ferrous sulfate is excellent. Your hemoglobin level is expected to go up after 21 days of using Ferrous Sulfate. 1g/dL of hemoglobin increase after 30 days is a positive response. However experts’ advice is that the treatment should continue for 3 months to renew iron stores.

What are the Side Effects of Ferrous Sulfate?

Seek quick medical help if you experience allergic reactions to Ferrous Sulfate: like breathing difficulty, hives, swelling of your tongue, throat, lips and face.

Common side effects of ferrous sulfate include:

  • Constipation
  • Stomach upset
  • Dark or black stools
  • Temporary teeth stain.

The following are possible side effects that may appear in persons of between the age of 18 and 60 years after taking ferrous sulfate, who have no other medical problems and are not using any other medications.

  • The common side effects may include heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, black stools, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. The possibility of a side effect to appear increases as the dose dosage increases.
  • The period at which you will use iron supplements cannot be established. However, the experts encourage the use of iron supplements to three months after recovery for this will help in renewing iron stores in your body.
  • A number of researches have been carried out to determine the efficacy and safety of Iron supplements which includes ferrous sulfate. However, according to a select committee that monitors Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) substances, there are no grounds of questioning the safety of iron supplements to the public considering how they are utilized in the present practice. Ferrous sulfate is not approved by FDA.
  • A three times daily prescription is essential in reversing iron deficiency conditions, because Ferrous Sulfate has a low absorption rate.
  • Liquid prepared iron supplements are easily absorbed than the eccentric- coated type.
  • Iron supplements may react in persons with a history of colitis, ulcers or intestinal illnesses.
  • The liquid form of Ferrous sulfate can stain your teeth.


Ferrous sulfate is utilized in effective prevention or treatment of iron deficiency anemia. Gastrointestinal contraindications are usual during treatment.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 3, 2017

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