How Can I Raise Iron Levels Fast?

Table of Contents

Iron is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood to other body parts so iron level deficiency can cause more severe problems. If you are iron deficient, you need to raise your iron levels. The best strategy is to change your diet. Eating iron-rich foods, taking iron-rich foods with vitamin C, and avoiding certain foods that interfere with calcium absorption can help you increase your iron levels.

If you are considering taking iron supplements, check with your doctor, as this is not always recommended. Also, consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of anemia, meaning you are not getting enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to different parts of the body. Your doctor will investigate possible causes and suggest treatments to increase your iron levels faster.

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What is iron deficiency, and how to diagnose it?

Anemia is one of the common diseases among many people, especially women. Anemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells in the blood vessels to carry oxygen to different body parts. 

Red blood cells may lack hemoglobin (the protein that gives blood cells their red color). One out of every ten women or teenage girls has anemia. Men and children are also at risk of anemia and deficiency in iron levels.

Red blood cells and iron level

Symptoms of anemia

You may suffer from anemia if you sleep well but feel tired or lack energy daily. Anemia and lack of iron levels can cause mental and memory problems.
Symptoms of anemia are:

Those who have anemia have low oxygen in their blood and iron levels. As a result, the heart has to work harder to compensate for this deficiency and deliver oxygen to all body organs. Cardiac symptoms include arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), shortness of breath, and chest pain.

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Ways to diagnose iron deficiency

  • Complete blood count

The complete blood count test determines the number of red and white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin in the body. Also, this test shows other indicators such as average size, variation in size, volume, and hemoglobin concentration of red blood cells.

The blood cells of people with anemia or iron deficiency are smaller than usual. During this test, you may be asked questions about the symptoms of anemia, your medications, and your family history of the disease.

If the complete blood count test shows anemia, you must have other tests. For example, a test in which blood cells are checked for an abnormal shape or a hemoglobin electrophoresis test that detects the type of hemoglobin in the blood. The reticulocyte count test is one of these tests that shows how well the bone marrow produces new blood cells.

Complete blood count
  • Bone marrow test

Suppose the bone marrow produces too few or too many blood cells or has an abnormal structure; a bone marrow test is needed. Bone marrow is a spongy tissue inside the bones. 

Bone marrow contains stem cells, and its task is to transform these stem cells into blood cells. To take this test, a small amount of bone marrow is removed by needling. This will take about 30 minutes and may be painful.

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

Why does the body need iron?

If you have iron-deficiency anemia, taking iron orally or getting iron intravenously with vitamin C is often the fastest way to raise your iron levels.

Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin in red blood cells, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen to the organs and other tissues of the body. 

Lack of iron levels disrupts this process, and lack of oxygen can cause fatigue and shortness of breath during physical activities.

The doctor first tries to identify the cause and severity of your anemia and lack of Iron levels and then recommends the appropriate treatment for you.

 Depending on your blood tests (including hemoglobin level, red blood cell count, etc.), your doctor may recommend eating iron-rich and vitamin C-rich foods instead of an iron supplement. In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be required.

red blood cells and hemoglobin

Iron-rich foods for better absorption and increased iron levels

What are Iron-rich foods?

It is essential to have a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to avoid any iron deficiency anemia. Regarding iron deficiency anemia, look for foods rich in iron, vitamin C, B12, and folate.

  • Food sources of iron include:

    1. spinach
    2. royal
    3. Cabbage
    4. Raisins
    5. Apricot
    6. dried plums
    7. Meat
    8. Chicken
    9. Cereals and bread
    10. fortified with iron
  • Food sources of vitamin C include:

    1. Grapefruit
    2. oranges
    3. Kiwi
    4. Strawberry
    5. plum
    6. tomatoes
  • Food sources of vitamin B12 include:

    1. Meat
    2. Chicken
    3. Fish
    4. egg
    5. Enriched bread, pasta,
    6. rice, and cereals
Food sources

Types of iron supplements and how to choose the right one?

An iron supplement is one of the strengthening drugs that provide the iron the body needs. This drug is available in different dosages and various pharmaceutical forms in pharmacies. 

You can get this medicine without a prescription. Also, the use of this medicine is considered for each specific age group in a specific dose. This drug is available in oral and injectable form.

The choice between oral and intravenous (IV) iron depends on various factors, including the degree of anemia, costs, availability of different iron replacement products, and the patient’s ability to tolerate oral iron medications.

Most patients are treated with oral iron because this form is generally more effective, readily available, inexpensive, and safe. 

However, gastrointestinal side effects are common (10% to 20% of patients report gastrointestinal side effects). Constipation is a common complaint, followed by nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea.

Low-dose iron supplementation (e.g., 30 mg/day) during pregnancy is as effective as higher-dose supplementation (e.g., 60 mg/day) and is less likely to cause side effects.

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Who is an injectable iron supplement suitable for?

IV iron is suitable for patients who cannot tolerate the gastrointestinal side effects of oral iron. For example, older adults, pregnant women (who show digestive symptoms related to pregnancy), and people with disorders that aggravate oral iron’s side effects.

Choosing an oral iron supplement

Many formulations of oral iron have almost the same effect but also have differences. Oral iron is well absorbed from the small intestine (duodenum and jejunum), so extended-release products are ineffective.
The most suitable form, liquid or tablet, contains ferrous (trivalent iron) salts.

What is an elemental iron supplement?

The body can absorb the total amount of iron in iron products. Each iron supplement has a different percentage of elemental iron (absorbable iron).

  • What is the amount of elemental iron in all kinds of iron salts:

    • Ferrous gluconate: contains 12% elemental iron
    • Ferrous sulfate: contains 2% elemental iron
    • Ferrous fumarate: contains 33% elemental iron
    • Carbonyl iron: contains 100% elemental iron

The lower the amount of elemental iron, the fewer digestive complications will be.

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Compositions of various iron supplements

In all kinds of iron supplements, all kinds of iron salts are used in them, which are generally categorized in the following cases:

  • Ferrous gluconate

Due to having the lowest amount of elemental iron (12%), this form of iron has fewer digestive side effects than other iron salts. However, in addition to this feature, the body must absorb iron much less due to the lower side effects. Like Century supplement

  • Ferrous sulfate

This form of iron contains 20% elemental iron. As a result, it causes digestive complications such as constipation in some people.
This iron salt has been the most common form of iron deficiency anemia treatment.
Joint market supplements containing this iron salt include Fefol, IroVit, and Foliron.

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  • Ferrous fumarate

This form of iron contains 33 elemental iron. It has gastrointestinal side effects, including diarrhea.
Its effects are usually revealed after a week of starting to use it.
Joint market supplements that contain this iron salt: Ferfolic, Feroglobin, Hematinic, and Feroral

  • Ferrous carbonyl

This form of it contains 100 elemental iron. Although it is an iron salt, it is more similar to the micro-particles of elemental iron. It dissolves in the acidic environment of the stomach and creates hydrochloride salt.
This form of iron has few advantages over ferrous sulfate. However, it has relatively slow absorption and fewer gastrointestinal side effects, so it has a lower risk of toxicity for children.
Joint market supplements that contain this iron salt: ZiFemin, Acti Iron, and Life Style Iron

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  • Ferrous glycinate and ferrous glycine sulfate

These two forms result from iron chelation with the amino acid “glycine.” Therefore, it allows iron to absorb this product more and has fewer digestive side effects than other iron salts.

Also, chelated iron has less interference with calcium absorption. In acidic pH, the stomach does not open; as a result, it reaches the small intestine (the iron absorption site) and is easily absorbed.
Based on the research results, patients’ compatibility with this form of iron is much better than with other iron salts.
Joint market supplements that contain this iron salt: Ferro Complete, Ferrodin, Easy Iron, Ferrofort

taking medicine

Pay attention to these points in taking iron supplements!

When choosing an iron supplement, note that iron, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 must be present because the effectiveness of iron increases; on the other hand, anemia is not always the result of iron deficiency.

Now that you know the types of iron salts, you can better choose which iron supplement is right for you.

If you have early symptoms of anemia, such as chronic fatigue and lack of energy, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Only take high doses of iron supplements with your doctor’s advice.

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Iron consuming tips:

  • The doctor usually starts with half the prescribed dose and gradually increases the dose. Follow the dosages.
  • Iron is best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach.
  • Some people experience abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea when taking iron. These people are advised to take iron supplements with a small amount of food.
  • Vitamin C increases iron absorption. Therefore, it is recommended to take iron tablets with orange juice.
  • Liquid forms of iron supplements may stain teeth. Mixing liquid iron with water or juice and drinking the solution through a straw is better.
  • Tannin in tea, caffeine, soy proteins, and phyllite in grains and legumes can reduce iron absorption.
  • Avoid eating high-fiber foods such as whole grains and raw vegetables while taking an iron supplement.
  • Milk, calcium, and antacids should not be taken simultaneously as iron supplements. Iron supplements should be taken at least 2 hours after consuming these substances.
  • Iron can cause constipation. In this case, the doctor may prescribe a laxative.
    Note that iron supplements can darken stools.


Avoiding foods and drinks that contain oxalic acid and interfere with iron absorption, some of these foods include:

  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Cereals
  4. Dairy products such as
  5. milk, yogurt, and cheese
  6. Chocolate
  7. Soft drinks
  8. spinach
  9. Soy
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The best ways to raise iron levels quickly

Fast management and treatment of anemia with lifestyle changes!

While some types of anemia are short-term and mild, others can stay with you for the rest of your life. There are several ways to help control anemia, including:

  1. Following a healthy diet.
  2. Drink enough water to stay hydrated
  3. Regular exercise. However, if you feel weak, you should exercise caution. Talk to your doctor about healthy and safe ways to exercise.
  4. Avoid exposure to chemicals that cause anemia.
  5. Washing hands regularly to prevent infection.
  6. Careful care of the teeth and regular visits to the dentist.
  7. Iron-rich foods and sources containing vitamin C in every meal help absorb iron better. Like orange, grapefruit, tomato, cabbage, strawberry, green pepper, lime
  8. Include red meat, fish, or chicken in your diet
  9. Avoiding tea or coffee with or immediately after food
  10. Solving digestive problems and constipation
  11. Correcting lousy eating habits (such as consuming non-food items such as soil and ice)
  12. Using dry fruits such as dried berries, plum leaves, dried figs, and raisins
  13. Use of sprouted grains and legumes
  14. Washing and disinfecting vegetables before use
  15. Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing and consuming food and after every defecation
  16. Daily consumption of one iron tablet from the end of the fourth month of pregnancy to three months after delivery in pregnant women
  17. Taking iron drops at the same time as complementary feeding until the end of 2 years of age in children.
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Most of us are familiar with the mineral iron and its importance for our bodies. Sometimes, this substance is lacking in our bodies, and reducing iron levels in the body can have many side effects. Thus, we must take iron supplements to compensate for this deficiency and raise iron levels and eliminate these symptoms. There are different types of iron supplements available. Of course, while iron can be obtained from food, supplementation is the fastest and easiest solution for treating iron deficiency.

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2 Responses

  1. My doctor has prescribed ferrous carbonyl iron for me, but when I use it, my stomach starts to hurt.
    I asked my doctor and he said that the stomach ache is not related to this!!
    please guide me.

    1. Iron supplements, including ferrous carbonyl iron, can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation. These side effects are more likely to occur when taking high doses or on an empty stomach.
      It is essential to follow the dosage instructions provided by a doctor or on the supplement’s label and to take the supplement with food.
      If you still feel pain following the above and your doctor does not give a convincing answer, it is better to consult another doctor, such as an internist.

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Author and specialist

Dr. Majid Zahrabi,


  • Board Certified Neurosurgeon
  • DHA certificate holder
  • Plantation certificate holder, France
  • Certified holder of Discogol, France
  • A pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of disc herniation in the Middle East and CIS countries.
  • Under the training and coaching of Professor Jacques Theron (founder of Discogel Therapy) since 2008
  • More than 400 successful cervical and 1300 lumbar discogel injections
  • Trained and certified several neurosurgeons and spine surgeons in the Middle East and CIS countries for the treatment of Discogel
  • Strong belief in patient-centered care planning and participation
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Imam Khomeini and Amir Mazandarani Hospital, Sari, Iran, with more than 430 surgeries annually, 2000-2011
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Farmaniyeh, Nikan and Yas Sepid Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with more than 400 surgeries annually, 2011-2012
  • Neurosurgeon at Iranian Hospital, Dubai, 2022-2023
  • Since 2015, he has been working as a reference doctor for the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with Discogel and has trained many doctors of spine-related specialties in various countries of the Middle East and CIS in person/practically and online.



  • Individual training sessions under the direct supervision of Professor Jacques Theron in Discogel treatment, 2008-2020
  • Training sessions under the supervision of Professor Thierry Boye on spinal implants, 2007
  • Participation and presentation in several national and international medical and neuro-spinal conferences
  • Board certificate by Iran Neurosurgery Board, 2001
  • Neurosurgery assistant training course, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, 1996-2001 (In 2001, he graduated from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences with the first rank in the country.
  • His thesis the titled:The Application of human amniotic membrane in repair of dura matter in dogs.” ( It was happening for the first time in the world. )
  • General medical education, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, 1984-1993


Published books:

  • CT scan of the brain for doctors
  • Etiology and treatment of painful spine disorders
  • Atlas of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of spine disorders
  • The most common mistakes in the treatment of spinal disorders
  • Reading brain CT scan in simple language (3rd place in the book of the year)
  • Treatment of head and spine injuries

Publications and articles:

  • Bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of DISCOGEL® (https://www.researchgate.net/)
  • Muscle recovery, reduction of pain, and improvement of movement strategies in patients with lumbar discopathy after injection of Discogel.
  • The article on the initial results of the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection, which won the second-best poster rank at the Pan Arab International Congress of Interventional Radiology (March 14-16, 2015) and was accepted for presentation at the Chicago Pain Congress.
  • The use of human amniotic membrane in dura mater repair in dogs, a study for the first time in the world.



  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2019
  • Chicago International Pain Congress, 2019
  • Iran International Pain Management Congress, 2018
  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2018
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Armenia for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2017
  • First Live Workshop and Seminar on Minimally Invasive Disc Therapy (DISCON), 2017
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Azerbaijan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • Seminar of Iranian official managers, 2016
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Tajikistan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • International Neurological Intervention Congress in Iran, 2014
  • Educational seminar for nurses on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Educational seminar for general practitioners on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Speech at the Retraining Seminar for General Practitioners and Specialists in Dubai (Discon) in 2017
  • Speech in the internal retraining courses of Irani Hospital, Dubai
  • Holding lecture sessions and practical workshops on the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Oman, and Armenia during the years 2015 to 2021.
  • Giving a lecture and holding a practical workshop for neurosurgeons in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City University in 2023

Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.