Iron, an essential mineral, aids in the production of proteins and enzymes needed throughout the body. The majority of iron in the body is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Although most adults receive the recommended intake of iron suggested by the National Institute of Medicine, those with gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, kidney disease, heavy menstrual loss or pregnancy may require iron supplements to avoid iron-deficiency anemia. Several types of iron supplements are available, many of them in liquid form.
Two main types of iron supplements are available--ferrous iron salt combinations and ferric iron. Because the body more readily absorbs ferrous iron, most doctors prescribe this type. The most commonly prescribed iron supplement, ferrous sulfate, is available as a liquid syrup, drops or an elixir. Ferrous sulfate supplements contain 20 percent elemental iron--the amount of iron available for absorption.
When taking liquid iron, shake the liquid well just before measuring. Doctors recommend taking liquid iron supplements on an empty stomach to increase the amount of iron absorbed. However, because ferrous sulfate can cause nausea and constipation, it may help to take the supplement with food--although this may decrease absorption, according to the National Anemia Action Council.
Ferrous fumarate, another iron salt supplement, is available as a liquid and in liquid-filled capsules and tablets. The dosage of liquid ferrous fumarate varies from person to person; you should always follow your doctor's dosing instructions. To measure your dose, use a marked medicine cup or spoon to avoid taking too much. The National Institutes of Health reports that ferrous fumarate supplements, including the liquid form, contain 33 percent elemental iron.
The liquid form of this supplement, and other similar iron salt supplements, may stain your teeth, so doctors suggest mixing it with water or fruit juice or placing the precise dosage in a dropper and squirting it at the back of the tongue. To remove stains from the teeth, brush with baking soda mixed with water.
Ferrous gluconate, similar to the two iron supplements listed earlier, also comes in liquid form. Although this liquid supplement only contains 12 percent elemental iron, some doctors prescribe it because it causes fewer side effects. As with the other iron supplements, follow dosing instructions carefully to avoid consuming too much iron, which can result in iron poisoning.