Do Iron Pills Make You Gain Weight? (Side Effects & Proper Dosing)

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Iron pills are an excellent supplement for when you know you have an iron deficiency in your body. Consuming iron pills doesn’t make you gain weight, and this isn’t a side effect that has been noticed in people. It would help if you took iron pills at the right time and the right way to avoid any side effects they might have on your body, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or dark stool. Your iron intake varies depending on whether you’re a child or an adult, male or female, or if you’re on certain other medications.

You might be suffering from an iron deficiency if you have lately felt tired and short of breath after doing even a little activity.

Iron deficiency can go unnoticed and only comes to light when it worsens in various signs and symptoms. Although taking iron-rich food can make you recover, many people prefer taking iron pills for their deficiency.

Taking iron pills can be a blessing but also has many side effects. If not handled with care, it can affect you in many ways. But does taking iron pills makes you gain weight? What are the other side effects of taking iron pills? Let’s find out more in detail.

Iron deficiency

With an iron deficiency in your body, your blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells.

The job of red blood cells in your body is to carry oxygen (hemoglobin) to the body’s tissues, essential for your body.

Without enough iron, your body can’t produce enough red blood cells, thus making you feel the symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue.

Often, your doctor recommends you include more iron-rich foods in your diet to fulfill your iron deficiency in your body.

These foods include red meat, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, to name a few.

Your body’s iron absorption can be increased if you increase the intake of foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, to name a few.

Importance of Iron pills for deficiency

A young woman is working on her laptop and feeling fatigue, possibly because she has low iron levels.

Without healthy red blood cells, your body won’t get enough oxygen resulting in various symptoms like:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat, or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Unusual cravings
  • Poor appetite

The exhaustion can affect your brain function and your immunity rendering it unable to fight properly with infections.

A lot of pregnant women also have an iron deficiency which also affects their baby’s birth. Iron also helps you keep healthy hair, nails, and skin.

For the iron deficiency in your body, it’s vital to take iron pills to help you recover and make you healthy again.

Do iron pills make you gain weight?

When one starts taking iron pills for their iron deficiency, they don’t realize that they can cause side effects if not handled correctly.

Many people wonder and are concerned if taking these iron pills might actually make them gain weight.

While this is a curiosity, many possess it’s not something that you should be worried about. Iron pills consumption doesn’t make you gain weight, and this is not a side effect you should be concerned about.

But there are other common side effects that a person might face include an upset stomach, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, or constipation.

The less common includes darkened urine, heartburn, and stained teeth.

More common side effects:

  • Backache, groin, side, or muscle pain
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever with increased sweating
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Metallic taste
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Numbness, pain, or tingling of hands or feet
  • Redness of skin
  • Swelling of throat or mouth
  • Troubled breathing

Less common or rare side effects:

  • Double vision
  • General unwell feeling
  • Weakness without feeling dizzy or faint
  • Chest or throat pain when swallowing
  • Stools with signs of blood

These are more or less all the side effects of taking iron pills for your iron deficiency. But gaining weight isn’t one of the side effects that you might face. Even if you accidentally overdose, you won’t gain weight by taking iron pills.

When taking iron pills for your deficiency, you should start with small quantities and a low dosage of these pills. Then you can gradually increase the daily dosage, still keeping it under the daily recommended intake of iron for your body.

This will help minimize any side effects you might notice on your body. However, if you’re still troubled by these side effects, then you should consult with your doctor.

Iron pill overdose

Overdosing is another issue you should be familiar with and need to be careful about. You should not take more than 45 mg of iron a day unless supervised by a medical professional.

For children, it’s an absolute no. There have been many reports of children being killed by an overdose of iron pills. Their daily iron needs are comparatively lower than adults.

For adults, it’s difficult to overdose on iron pills as their body has systems in place to regulate the amount of iron absorbed.

Instead, they will start seeing side effects of iron overdose such as diarrhea, fever, nausea, stomach pain or cramping, or vomiting.

It’s quickly recognizable when one overdoses on iron pills. You can notice these effects in your body and visit your doctor to help manage your intake of iron pills.

How much iron does your body need?

  • Infants and toddlers need more iron as compared to adults since they’re still growing. Boys and girls from ages 4 to 8 require the same amount of iron, 10 milligrams daily. This quantity increases to 8 mg daily for children from ages 9 to 13.
  • Adolescent women need more iron than men because of their periods. So, every woman from age 19 to 50 needs to get 18 mg of iron each day, while men can suffice with 8 mg each day.
  • After menopause, a women’s iron needs dip down to men’s iron needs in a day. Both can suffice in 8 mg of iron in a day.
  • There are exceptions when you might need to uptake your iron needs each day, including when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have kidney failure, ulcer, gastrointestinal disorder, take too many antacids, weight loss surgery, and work out a lot.
  • Vegetarians and vegans are also recommended iron pills since their iron intake is comparatively lower than those who get their iron from meat.

When taking iron pills

Consuming iron pills is likely safe when taken appropriately and at the right time with the proper instructions.

Food can also reduce how well the body can absorb iron.

You should take the iron pills on an empty stomach, but if it doesn’t suit you and you see side effects, you should take them with food.

Avoid taking iron pills with milk, coffee, tea, or cereals. In addition, if you’re on certain other medications, you should let your doctor know beforehand.

Iron pills can react with some drugs, and their combination can be harmful to your body.

Upon learning your complete medical history and what medications you’re on currently, your doctor might suggest different ways to remove your iron deficiency.


Do iron pills make you lose weight?

If you think solely taking iron pills can help you lose a bunch of weight, you’re mistaken. Sufficient iron in your body can aid you in maintaining a healthy weight, but it’s not a magical pill that might make you lose weight.

Iron helps your body create energy from nutrients and helps carry oxygen to all the cells in your body, including your muscles. This, in turn, helps them burn fat.

Do iron pills make you hungry?

Iron is a mineral that can’t be excreted, so the more iron you consume, the chances of your leptin levels dropping increases.

This results in increased appetite and the potential of overeating in people trying to maintain their iron levels by taking iron pills or eating iron-rich foods.

Does the iron pill make you poop?

Iron pills can, in fact, be a cause of constipation rather than increasing the times you poop or usually poop in a day. So, this is considered as a side effect rather than something that makes you poop more.

If you’re having severe constipation, you should consult with your doctor.

Do iron pills make you sleepy?

The first sign you notice when suffering from iron deficiency is low on energy, feeling sluggish or tired all the time, making you sleep more. It might take up to 3 months to replenish iron in your body.

Can low iron cause skin problems?

People with iron deficiency suffer from itchy skin, also known as developing pruritus. You might start scratching your skin more often, which can cause redness and bumps that look like rashes. Low iron can affect your skin, nails, and hair.

To summarize

Taking iron pills to overcome your iron deficiency is an excellent option while also eating iron-rich foods. A combination of a good diet and taking iron pills can be effective in overcoming your deficiency sooner.

You should be aware of the side effects iron pills can have if not taken the right way.

It can cause several side effects like diarrhea, stomach ache, rashes, to name a few. But taking iron pills doesn’t actually make you gain weight. If appropriately handled, these iron pills can be beneficial to your health.

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Saumya Malik
I'm an ardent follower of everything good for the health and wellness of body and mind. I am passionate about providing effective solutions to general health and mental well-being issues and wants to help people achieve the same. When I'm not writing, you can find me curled up with a good book in a corner or cooking as a form of good mental therapy.

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