Choosing the Right Iron Supplement

Oral iron supplements are available in a variety of different formulations and the most commonly prescribed preparations include ferrous salts and polysaccharide irons.


Iron supplements contain different amounts of iron levels available within each dose or capsule. Each type of iron also contains different amounts of elemental iron which is the total amount of iron in the supplement that is actually available for absorption by the body.  


The crucial problem with iron supplements, is GI upset. 


 ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous fumarate

an iron complex form

  • Ferrous gluconate - 12% elemental iron

  • Ferrous sulfate - 20% elemental iron

  • Ferrous fumarate - 33% elemental iron

  • A lower absorption rate combined with a low elemental iron requires a higher dosing / number of capsules per day to increase iron stores

  • Released in the stomach and therefore associated with excessive gastrointestinal side effects such as constipation, diarrhea and stomach pain

  • Should be taken on an empty stomach which increases the likelihood of adverse side effects

  • Polysaccharides – 43% elemental iron


  • Delivers the highest amount of elemental iron - therefore requiring a lower dosage level in a convenient once a day capsule

  • Delivered to the bloodstream without coming into contact with the stomach  and therefore associated with little to no gastrointestinal side effects

  • Can be taken without or without food

Better outcome vs. Ferrous salts


When choosing the right iron supplement consider Polyride Fe and Polyride Fe Ultra Polysaccharide iron with 150 mg of elemental iron – the highest dosage per capsule of elemental iron available in an iron supplement.  Both are proven effective in the treatment of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia without troublesome gastrointestinal side effects

To improve iron absorption even further, Polyride Fe Ultra provides the added benefit of vitamin C which improves iron absorption by reducing the iron to a state that optimizes it solubility. 



  1. Makrides et al. Efficacy and Tolerability of Low-dose Iron Supplements During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 78: 145-53.

  2. Johnson et al. A Prospective Open-label Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Adverse Reactions of the use of Niferex-150 in ESRD patients receiving EPOGEN. Adv erit Dial. 1992; 8: 444-47


Seaford Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
28-1530 Drew Road
Mississauga, Ontario
L5S 1W8


T: (905) 673-5893
TF: 1 (888) 292-3192



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