In most cases, the best time to take iron supplements is about one hour before or two hours after meals. Iron supplements are best taken with water on an empty stomach.
There is a long list of foods, such as coffee, tea or milk, which interfere with the absorption of ferrous iron. Consider this fact next time you are about to pop an iron pill right before breakfast: taking your iron supplement with food may decrease how much iron is absorbed by the body by up to 50 percent!
On the flip side, citrus items, such as lemonade, can increase your iron absorption. Many people like to take their iron supplement with an “iron booster” like orange juice.
The no-food guideline is true for non-heme forms of iron, including ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate and ferrous gluconate; the exception to the rule is a heme iron supplement, such as Feosol Complete with Bifera, which combines heme and non-heme in one pill! Feosol Complete is versatile and can be taken with or without food.
Since oral iron products may interfere with absorption of certain antibiotics, these products should not be taken within two hours of each other.
1. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health. Iron. Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/912.html#FoodInteractions March 7, 2012.