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Interactions With Iron Supplements

by
author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Interactions With Iron Supplements
Pouring a cup of coffee Photo Credit DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

For people who struggle with anemia -- a condition characterized by low red blood cell levels -- iron supplements can help alleviate the severe fatigue, weakness and breathing difficulties associated with this condition. Despite the beneficial attributes of iron supplements, this nutritional supplement may interact with certain medications, supplements or foods you consume throughout your day. Discuss any questions you have regarding potential interactions with iron supplements with your medical provider.

Medication Interactions

Medications to avoid while taking iron include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- commonly called NSAIDs -- and allopurinol. Iron may also reduce the effectiveness of levothyroxine, carbidopa and levodopa. In addition, your body may not properly absorb ACE inhibitors, tetracyclines, quinolones and bisphosphonates if you use these medications in conjunction with iron supplements.

Medications that may reduce iron absorption include antacids, certain heartburn and ulcer medications, such as cimetidine and famotidine, and cholesterol-lowering medications, such as colestipol and cholestyramine.

Take your daily dose of iron at least two hours before or two hours after taking another medication to limit your risk of developing a negative drug interaction.

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Vitamin and Supplement Interactions

Calcium and soy may reduce iron absorption, while iron supplements may reduce zinc absorption. Avoid using iron supplements in conjunction with acacia, as this combination may result in the formation of an insoluble gel. The side effects of this iron-acacia interaction are not known.

Food Interactions

Taking iron supplements with food may reduce how much iron your body absorbs by 40 to 50 percent, according to MedlinePlus. Avoid taking iron with dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese. The high levels of calcium in dairy products can prevent your body from properly absorbing iron. Take iron supplements on an empty stomach or with a low-calcium meal.

Beverage Interactions

Avoid drinking tea, coffee or milk when you take your daily dose of iron. These beverages can limit the amount of iron your body is able to absorb from both supplements and iron-rich foods.

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