Ferrous gluconate is an iron supplement used to treat iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which a lack of red blood cells results from too little iron in the body. An adequate number of red blood cells is essential for carrying oxygen to organs and tissues. People normally obtain enough iron from food, Drugs.com notes, but certain health disorders may necessitate supplementation. Ferrous gluconate has several side effects, so consult your doctor before taking the supplement.
Liquid ferrous gluconate can temporarily discolor your teeth. To prevent this, Drugs.com recommends diluting ferrous gluconate with water or fruit juice, and drinking it with a straw. Brushing your teeth with baking soda once a week also can remove any stains that do develop.
Digestive Side Effects
Digestive side effects are relatively common with ferrous gluconate supplements, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Some people experience heartburn, upset stomach, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dark stools, constipation, or diarrhea. The NIH recommends increasing your intake of dietary fiber to relieve constipation, and taking over-the-counter remedies for the other side effects.
Iron can be toxic in doses higher than recommended, and Drugs.com advises anyone who has taken too much ferrous gluconate to seek emergency medical attention. This also applies to anyone who is not deficient in iron and accidentally swallows ferrous gluconate.
Ferrous gluconate overdose can be life-threatening, particularly in children. Iron overload symptoms may include severe stomach pain, severe nausea, vomiting up blood or substances that look like coffee grounds, bloody diarrhea, drowsiness, shallow breathing, weak and rapid pulse, cold or clammy skin, blue lips, and seizures. Gradual iron accumulation overdose also can occur, the NIH explains. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, arthritis, lack of menstrual periods, early menopause, decrease in sex drive, and erectile dysfunction.
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to ferrous gluconate. Signs listed by Drugs.com include hives, difficulty breathing, and facial, throat or mouth swelling. An allergic reaction to ferrous gluconate should be considered a medical emergency.