Iron & Vitamin C Questions!

I started taking my Iron supplements last night (Ferrous Sulphate 200mg) along with Vitamin C 1000mg.

I am supposed to take the Iron twice a day but my Vitamin C is one a day. Do I need to take Vit C with both doses? what's the best way to do that?

Also, my last Iron blood test showed my current level of Iron was 27 and range is 13.00 - 150. I can't seem to find out online what the optimal level is for Iron but on the box it says to take 1 for prevention of Anemia and 2-3 a day for treatment of anemia. would it be worth me taking the 3 instead of just two to get my levels up quicker?

I know i've only taken them a full day but this morning i had just over 10 hours sleep, only woke up twice (both for the loo) and restless just 6 times according to my fitbit. usually it's 5-6 hours sleep, awake 4 times and restless 18-24 times so they seem to be working already. today in work i felt more like my old self and was moving a lot quicker and not getting as tired quickly.

For the Vitamin C i'm just using ones i had in from Asda before i realised how crap supermarket ones were.. any suggestions on a better brand that work and is 1000mg enough? I haven't had my VitC levels checked but there probably low like the rest of them are.

31 Replies

nikki2975 You should take your Vit C with each dose of iron. You can't really overdose on Vit C, it's water soluble so any excess is pee'd out. Also, you'll know when you've had too much as you will have reached bowel tolerance so you'd drop back a bit if you did.

The 'purest' form would be ascorbic acid powder (or one of the other ascorbates if you find ascorbic acid a bit harsh) as there are no fillers like there are in tablets or capsules. Nature's Best do one as do Nutribiotics

The Nutribiotics one has the L-ascorbic acid form which is supposed to be better than the D-ascorbic acid form. Most brands don't tell you which form they use.

If you would prefer to use a tablet or capsules you'd have to check the fillers, I use the powder and dissolve it in orange juice. Both of the brands I've mentioned dissolve easily (I've used both).

As for your iron level, if it is Ferritin that is 27, then you need to get that up to half way through the range. Take 2 Ferrous Sulphate a day to raise ferritin, 3 is for the treatment of anaemia so unless you've been diagnosed with that stick to 2.

Thanks SeasideSusie,

I'm on day 3 or 4 of taking 2000mg a day Vit C and not had any problems or side effects yet but i will look into getting one of the ones you linked as i think my current one has lots of fillers included.

I've stuck to taking the 2 Sulphate, I wasn't really diagnosed with anything, just told that my Iron was low and to take two a day. I have a months supply so i guess i'll see how well it's working or not working then.

The vitamin C has two purposes. One to increase iron absorption and two if you have constipation to help relieve that.

However iron itself can cause diarrhoea so if you have loose bowel movements cut back on the vitamin C first, then if that doesn't work cut the iron down to one a day AND ask on the forum for other iron supplements that could work better. You need to still take the iron supplements you have until you get other iron supplements that may be better for you.

Also make sure you have a blood test 7 days after finishing the course as iron can be poisonous. This is also why with low ferritin you only take two per day.

Hi Bluebug,

I'm on day 4.5 of taking the Iron and Vit C at 2000mg a day and no problems so far. I have noticed i've been to the loo more so i think it's starting to help the constipation.

I'm gonna ring my GP tomorrow to get a blood test form done ready for when i finish as i want to check my B12, D & Folate now i'm 2-3 weeks in.

Did your doctor prescribed the supplements for you or tell you to take them? If not they can refuse to retest you for them, and you will have to do it privately.

This is especially common with vitamin D as the test costs the NHS around £17 each time.

Where I am if you are severely deficient you are allowed a blood test for vitamin D 6 months after you start taking supplements, otherwise you are allowed them at 2 year intervals if you are low and had other symptoms.

The Vit D, Iron and Folate were prescribed and the B12 and B Complex i was advised to take on here but i did ask for the B12 and B Complex ones to be tested also and they were the last time i had them done. Apart from the complex i've had the others tested 4-5 times since January and 2 times by the Endo. I've been really luckily with getting things tested and checked but that doctors left now so i have a feeling it might be a lot harder.

Hello, there. I, too, take Ferrous Sulfate twice a day with vitamin C. The vitamin C aides in the absorption of the iron. I buy the 1,000 mg tablets and split one in half using a pill splitter. It is important to take your iron as directed because too much iron is as bad for you as not enough. Vitamin C is one of those vitamins where you're body will naturally rid itself of any excess. You will need to let your doctor know if your urine is staying a darker color or has a strong odor regardless of how much water you are drinking. Especially if you are also on diuretics. Something like that would indicate that you need to reduce your vitamin C intake a little more, but it doesn't sound like that's a problem. By your description, this regiman is helping you already. Good luck and best wishes for good health.

Hi KimberTN,

Only tablets i'm taking at the moment are the Sulphate, Vit C, Vit D, B12 & B Complex...Hoping to start back on Magnesium next week too and then hopefully that will be it for the supplements i need to take.

I've not noticed a change in my Urine since i first started taking B12 & Complex 2-3 weeks ago, it's just constantly a bright yellow, i guess to get rid of the excess.

I think the bright yellow is also coming from the C vitamin. For some people, B complex can be a diuretic, or water pill, as my grandmother used to say.

I think I would also make sure I was drinking half of my body weight in water.

I'm really struggling with drinking water. i rarely have 1 litre a day, it's only if a Migraine comes on that i drink more. I have been building it up the last few weeks so hopefully soon i'll be drinking at least 2 litres a day.

nikki2975 and KimberTN It's the Riboflavin (B2) that causes pee to be bright yellow.

Hello Can I ask where you got your iron supplements from? Many thanks.

Hi, they were prescribed by my doctor.

Were your ferritin levels only low or are you also anaemic? My ferritin level was 8.9 when tested but I am not anaemic and GP wouldn't prescribe iron tablets, just said had to increase iron in diet. Was wondering if/why your GP potentially took a different approach?

I''m not sure, all i remember my doctor saying was that it was low and to take 2 a day. on the box it say's take 1 for prevention of anemia and 2-3 to treat anemia. i'm currently taking 2 so i'm guessing that i'm anemic but don't remember being officially told that. My doctor was really nice though and helped me a lot with testing and treatments and not all doctors are that way.

in fact, I remember going for a blood test to test my Folate and it was doctor told me to get it through diet and listed foods i could eat to get it and then the doctor that prescribed the Iron, when i next went in brought it up and prescribed me Folic Acid straight away and didn't mention getting it through my diet.

I think it depends on the doctor and not necessarily what you have if that makes any sense lol

MiniMum97 some ferritin ranges go down as low as 7 and some stupid GPs don't understand what ferritin does. So even if your level is 8, because your GP is an idiot he won't prescribe you iron.

You can google the NICE guidelines for iron deficiency anaemia as I think they mention ferritin levels.

Then point out to the doctor you have symptoms of iron deficiency, saying what iron deficiency symptoms you have, then point out what the NICE guidelines say about ferritin levels and request he prescribed iron tablets.

Even though you can buy iron tablets yourself as they are cheap, the reason you want a prescription is so you can get a follow up test on the NHS. You want to take the test in 4-6 months.

Hi if taking thyroid hormones you have to take iron 4 hours apart otherwise it could interrupt with absorption! I find Solgar a good one to take for iron and vitamin C,all my other supplements are from solgar now,if you get constipated you can up your vitamin C :-)

Hi, I don't have to take any Thyroid meds at the moment so that's not a problem. struggling to fit them all in without adding anymore to it :)

Be careful with iron. Mine was always low but since supplimenting it went over and I had no idea. The vitamin c gives the iron a major boost. Didn't get the usual symptoms of too much iron either.

I have a months course.... i took one on Friday night and then Saturday morning before work and really noticed the difference by the time i got to work later on that day just from them two tablets and everyday since i've been getting better. though i'm not complaining as it was desperately needed, i know they don't always work that quick so i think i might try to have it tested in a couple of weeks to make sure i'm not over too. i've not had any symptoms really, a couple of times i felt i needed to go to the loo but then it went and i've been ok...i have felt a little headachey sometimes but it soon goes but i'm wondering if it's the 2000mg of VitC or the Magnesium Sterate that's in them that's causing it as i've already had to stop taking Magnesium Citrate a couple of weeks ago because it gave me Migraines.

Unlikely they will retest in that short a timeframe. More likely months than weeks.

The big mistake is getting your levels to an acceptable point then completely stopping. If you didn't have some sort of a problem (whether diet, absorption, stomach acidity), you probably would not have got to the point you were at. So you might have to do something long term - black pudding for breakfast? :-)

I'd rather have the low levels than eat black pudding :)

I will be continuing with the B12 and Complex anyway, The Vit D, I was advised on here to take 40,000iu daily for 2 weeks and then drop it too 5,000iu daily. today was my last day of the 40,000iu. my doctor still thinks i'm taking 1 20,000iu every two weeks. As for the Iron, they may re-test me after that month to see what i should do. my Iron levels have been up and down the last few times i've taken them so maybe i was getting some Iron without them but i hope i don't have to stop them as i really don't need the fatigue back.

For what it's worth: I have had great success raising my iron by taking iron bisglycinate with 500 mg vitamin c. Iron bisglycinate is non-constipating. (I've read bad things about taking high doses of vitamin c, so I stick to 500 mg.) My iron always goes low when I don't supplement, so I take three 18 or 25 mg iron bisglycinate with 500 mg vitamin c, once a day, preferably on an empty stomach for better absorption, and 4 or 5 hours away from my thyroid medicine, while I am actively raising the low level. (I tried once substituting orange juice for the vitamin c, and my iron levels hardly went up!) (And I take Thorne brand iron bisglycinate and c because I like that they don't include stearates.) Once my iron levels are no longer low, I take 1 or 2 of the irons with c instead of 3. When my free t3 levels are good (or too high), my iron levels can go too high fairly quickly, so I try to get blood tests for iron fairly regularly to make sure the levels are not either too high or too low. When I talk about my iron levels, I am referring to % saturation, which is always a more reliable measure than just iron and/or ferritin levels, both of which can be misleading.

I agree with what Julie 11 says. Thorne is a good brand as is Solgar. 500mg vitamin C twice a day with your iron is a good starting point. If you have a gentle easier absorbed form of iron, there will be less chance of stomach problems. The same goes for vitamin C. Too high dose can cause cramping and diarrhea, which is self defeating as all the iron and vitamin C are lost this way. You can always increase the vitamin C slowly if you feel you need to. As well as taking 4hrs away from thyroid meds, do not have any caffine drinks or chocolate with iron for at least 1 hr before and after as this decreases iron absorbsin

I've found the Thorne Vit C so i'm just waiting for that to arrive. I've had no problems so far with the Iron or Vitamin C at 2000mg a day but i will keep an eye on it and reduce if needed but most of my vitamin levels are low anyway so i'm probably ok for now.

I'm not on Thyroid meds at the moment so that's not been a problem and i've only been drinking water for the hour before and two hours after taking the Iron which i thought would be difficult to adjust too but it's been fine.

Hello nikki2975,,,,well the world of iron tablets is very difficult,,,firstly take the tablets with plenty of fluids,,,,as you have not had your vit c levels checked, then maybe you need to take the vit c in smaller doses say 250mg,,,at a time,,as your body flushes out excess vit c in your pee,,,so it is a waste to take to much,,and it is also not recommended to over dose on it.

Iron can cause constipation, which as is known is very troubling and upsetting to the body,,,I have this very same problem and I am now on the soft liquid iron,,which still constipates me, so may I suggest you increase your intake of fruit, even tinned in juice will add valuable fibre into the body which is helpful to iron intake.

i have to take senna everyday which dose not work everyday,,,then some times feel very uncomfortable due a bloated stomach,,,,,

You might have to change types if your stomach is becoming very uncomfortable and bloated,,,and don't worry if you have to stop taking it, to get your insides working better,,,, iron is something which can be come back to, I do this as I don't like having bloated stomach and not going to the loo,,,, good luck with this treatment,,,you are in charge and do the best method for yourself,,,,,ttfn from Karen.

Thank you for the advice Karen

Hello nikki2975,,,,in my last post to you , I forgot to mention that I find the vitamin products from Holland and Barrett good and they have a range that suits most people, they can be in shop or on line,,their staff are very helpful,,,,they have a magazine called Healthy which is full of information and helpful sections which might be helpful to you, they also have money off coupons for different things in the mags,,,,,there are many on line places also, some I have tried, but seem to go back to H&B,,,,,,good looking for your vits,,,ttfn from Karen.

Generally, Holland & Barrett own brand are poor quality. They frequently use the wrong form of a vitamin or they don't tell you which form. For example, their B12 just says B12. It's important to know which form - methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin. My guess is it's cyanocobalamin which is the cheapest form and shouldn't be used, methylcobalamin is the one to take

Their supplements containing magnesium use magnesium oxide which is one of the worst forms, the cheapest and has poor absorption

Ditto calcium carbonate

They use a lot of fillers.

They're cheap for a reason and some people who have tried them say they don't work. Generally a waste of money which could be used to put towards better quality, bioavailable and effective supplements.

I have heard that before about H&B as i was going to try there's after seeing the reviews. ( I think it might of been from you SeasideSusie?)

I only take Jarrow or Thorne Vitamins now apart from the Vitamin C but i have ordered the Thorne version so i can start taking them.

Thank you for this information,,,,I will look into what I take from them and what they are made from,,,I would not say they are cheap,,,so prices make my eyes water,,,,ttfn from Karen.

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