Pharmacist Doug: Understanding Your Iron Dosage

4 Your Health

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Are you ever confused at the Pharmacy when shopping for iron?

Pharmacist Doug says, “Iron is so very important for our good health. Every single tissue in our body needs an almost constant supply of oxygen to sustain life and iron is the nutrient that plays an important role in transporting oxygen.”

Iron comes in different “forms.” Most all chemicals in nature are attached to something else, these are called “salts” or “chelates.”

One of the most common and oldest forms is Iron (Ferrous) Sulfate, but you also have ferrous gluconate, ferrous bis-glycinate and carbonyl iron (not a mix of iron salts like the other iron supplement types, it consists entirely of micro-particles of elemental iron. It dissolves slowly in the stomach and carries less risk of iron toxicity.)

Why would they have different strengths?

Pharmacist Doug says, “So, each combination is going to have a different weight because all molecules weigh differently. So, when your doctor tells you to get 325mg of iron, usually that means the old fashioned ferrous sulfate that is 325mg, BUT, the important part is the “elemental” iron. The amount of iron by itself. So, do not be confused because this has caused overdose in the past. The doctor does not mean 325mg of the elemental component!”

Is one better than the other?

Pharmacist Doug says, “Yes, the important part is getting the iron absorbed and decreasing the side effects (stomach upset and constipation.) The chelate like bis-glycinate and sustained-release forms like iron with vitamin C and the carbonyl iron are all absorbed much better and cause much fewer stomach problems.”

Have a Question for Doug? You can email him at or reach out to him on Facebook at Pharmacist Doug.

Drug Emporium
4210 SW 45th Ave
(806) 358-6228

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