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Best Vegan Iron supplements

Review and Buyers Guide

Edited by: Isabel Stewart , Last updated: November 29, 2020

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Megafood

Blood builder

Made with real whole foods
Easy on the stomach
BEST VEGAN IRON FOR MEN & WOMEN
Floravital

Liquid iron supplement

Excellent for both men and women
Tasty formula
BEST FOR SENSITIVE STOMACHS
Solgar

Gentle iron supplement

High number of servings
Easy on sensitive stomachs

Iron is one of 9 essential nutrients needed to master a vegan diet. It plays a vital role in how efficiently the human body’s primary functions operate, from its significant role in red blood cell production through to supporting the transport of oxygen from your lungs to all the other organs in your body through hemoglobin.

Due to a lack of balanced diets and knowledge of nutrition, many people on western diets tend to be deficient in iron with iron deficiency being the most common nutritional deficiency in the world [1]

It is even more important for vegans to have our iron in check since plant-based forms of iron are slightly less absorbable than meat options. Due to this, we need to make sure we know what foods to incorporate into our diet to keep our iron levels in check, but even then, it can sometimes be a bit difficult.

best vegan iron supplement

Balancing out your diet with a high-quality vegan iron supplement can make up for any inefficiencies in your diet and help to prevent further deficiencies down the line, but with so much random nutritional info on the internet, it can be hard to tell whats a quality iron supplement and whats a waste of money. 

In this article, we will break down: 

  • why iron is essential for vegans
  • what you need to look for when picking a quality plant-based iron supplement
  • and which products from our research are the best for vegans in a variety of scenarios. 

Read on to find the best vegan irons supplement for your needs!

Best vegan iron supplements at a glance:

So what is iron and why is it so important?

Iron is crucial to the efficient functioning of the human body as a whole. Without iron carrying oxygen around like a taxi driver to our brain, heart, and all other important organs, we would have a pretty big issue. 

Since all cells in our body contain iron to some degree and all significant organs need it for optimal functionality, it is vital that we maintain a regular healthy supply of iron to keep our bodies running as smoothly as possible. We lose most of our iron supply through consistent everyday processes such as sweating, urination, excretion, and bleeding, and this all needs to be topped back up. 

Benefits of having a regular healthy iron supply

Top 5 Vegan iron supplements reviewed (2021 updated)

1. MegaFood Blood Builder Editor’s Choice

FEATURES:

Number of servings: 90

Serving size: 26mg iron

Free from: Non-GMO, tested for 125+ herbicides and pesticides, Free of gluten, dairy and soy

Extra nutrients: Organic oranges, beet root, Vitamin C, B12 and folate

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REVIEW SCORE:
96/100

The Megafood blood builder stands out because it markets itself as more than just an iron supplement. With a mix of iron, vitamin c, beetroot, broccoli, and folic acid, it provides a combination of what you need to make sure iron absorption is optimal. It comes with one tablet that contains 26mg of iron per 15mg of vitamin c and 30mcg of vitamin b12. The simple one pill serving makes this a brilliant choice for those that dislike taking iron pills for every serving.

Megafood blood builder has by far the highest amount of positive reviews by users, which gives it a large amount of credibility and has the most certifications to back the quality of the supplement. One of the things that made this one of our top picks was the thorough testing of over 125 herbicides and pesticides and officially certified glyphosate residue-free. 

Simply put, the Megafood blood builder is one of the cleanest iron supplements for vegans. With its easily digestible iron formula supported with enough cofactors (vitamin c and vitamin b12) that make the absorption even easier, the Megafood blood builder our top pick for an iron supplement for vegans and vegetarians.

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Why we love it
Made with real food
Easy on the stomach
Contains beneficial cofactors
things to be aware of
Packaging is larger than needed

2. Floravital Liquid Iron Supplement Best for Men and Women

FEATURES:

Number of servings: 25

Serving size: 10mg of iron

Free from: Dairy-free, Yeast-free, Non GMO & Gluten Free

Extra nutrients:Natural herbal extracts and fruit juices containing vitamins B & C

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REVIEW SCORE:
90/100

Floravital provides a brilliant liquid iron supplement with serving sizes that work well for both men and women, making this a great supplement for the whole family household.

Each serving provides 10g of iron, which falls into the safe range for the needs of men, plus the formula is yeast, dairy, and lactose-free, making this great for any vegans with sensitive stomachs or food intolerances.

Floravital’s iron supplement coming in liquid form makes it one of the easiest iron supplements to absorb into your bloodstream without the need to be broken down by stomach acid. Floravital uses a unique fruit and vegetable formula derived from rose hip fruit extract, fennel seed, spinach leaves, and chamomile.

Our top pick for liquid iron supplement for vegans that has a moderate amount of b12 per serving that works well for men since men need less iron per day than women. For women doubling the serving size works equally well. 

With a tasty fruit & vegetable formula, loaded with iron and b vitamins that are also easy on the stomach, Floravital takes our top spot for vegan liquid iron supplement for sensitive digestive systems.

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Why we love it
Excellent for both men and women
Tasty formula
Additional herbs and fruits
things to be aware of
Doesn’t have calcium added like other iron supplements

3. Solgar Gentle Iron Supplement Best for sensitive stomachs

FEATURES:

Number of servings: 180

Serving size: 25mg of iron

Free from: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Non GMO

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REVIEW SCORE:
85/100

Solgar have created an excellent vegan iron supplement that is, free from wheat, gluten, dairy products, soy, yeast, sugar, sodium, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives, making this an excellent option for healthily increasing your iron intake without any unnecessary additives.

Solgar provides 25g of gentle chelated iron in the form of bisglycinate. Solgar’s gentle iron supplement uses their own advanced patented formula that focuses on balancing energy and fatigue while being stomach-friendly, avoiding the constipation symptoms that can occur with some supplements.

Our top pick for a straightforward, easy on the stomach, vitamin iron supplement that’s only iron and nothing else. The properties of their patented formula make this a great choice for helping to prevent fatigue and low energy. The minimal extras make this simple yet effective, and at 25mg per serving, your vegan iron needs can be met with ease.

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Why we love it
High number of servings
Easy on sensitive stomachs
Simple and gentle formula
things to be aware of
Minimal cofactors

4. EZ Melts Iron supplement Best Iron supplement for easy digestion

FEATURES:

Number of servings: 90

Serving size: 18mg of iron

Free from: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, No artificial colors and Non-GMO,

Extra nutrients:Vitamin C

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REVIEW SCORE:
85/100

EZ melts are easily one of our top picks for vegan iron supplements due to an appropriate serving size of 18mg and an easily absorbed iron form ( chelated bisglycinate). The efficient absorbability and suitable iron dosage make it simple for women to achieve their RDA while not being too excessive for men. The fact that the EZ melts iron comes in a tablet form means for men trying to control excess iron consumption, they can easily cut the tablet in half. The tablets are small, making them easy to swallow but also fast-melting, enabling a faster rate of absorption while requiring less work from your body.

EZ Melts excels in the vitamin C category at 30mg per serving, providing 50% of the recommended daily amount. What makes this product stand out from the rest is the ratio of iron to vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in optimal iron absorption, so a high vitamin C to iron ratio ensures your body absorbs a sufficient amount of iron with each serving.

One of the better tasting iron supplements. The EZ iron tablet comes in a zesty orange flavor made from monk fruit extract, which provides a tasty option for those who can’t stand to swallow the typical bland tasting capsule.

Overall the EZ melts iron tablet excels due to its high ratio of vitamin c to iron, its easily absorbable and a fast-melting tablet, which is easy on the stomach making this our top pick for Vegan iron supplement for sensitive stomachs.

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Why we love it
Gentle formula for sensitive stomachs
Nice flavor
Quick absorption
things to be aware of
Lacks the vitamin B that others contain

5. Floravital liquid iron supplement Best For women in fitness and sports

FEATURES:

Number of servings: 60

Serving size: 28mg of iron

Free from: Gluten Free, and Dairy Free with No Binders or Fillers

Extra nutrients: Vitamins B, C, Trace Minerals, Fruit Veggies & Probiotics

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REVIEW SCORE:
89/100

Garden of life is known for their quality products and focus on clean plant-based ingredients, and the vitamin Code healthy blood is no exception. Each serving boasts a healthy 28mg dose of gentle iron, which is excellent for women, especially those who partake in sports or fitness since women will tend to lose a lot of iron through sweat.

Each serving provides 60mg of vitamin C, which is crucial for iron absorption. Some people will struggle to get enough iron without vitamin-c in the formula. Garden of life excels by having the most substantial amount of vitamin c in their product out of all our top picks.

It contains three unique blends that boost the nutrient profile of this iron supplement, making it closer to an iron centric multivitamin rather than just an iron tablet. A mineral blend, fruit and vegetable blend, and a probiotic & enzyme blend, which together, ensure you are getting the essential nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body. 

Plus, they were wise enough to avoid foods containing calcium since calcium can prevent iron absorption. This shows the attention to detail that Garden of Life team had in the creation of their formula and why it’s one of our top picks for the best iron supplement.

Top choice for optimal iron absorption supported by a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals due to their unique mineral blend, fruit & vegetable blend, and probiotic & enzyme blend. The moderate amount of iron plus the large number of cofactors (vitamin B and C) make this one of our best iron supplement picks for vegans.

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Why we love it
Extra nutrients added to support the unique needs of women
Probiotics added for digestive support
Natural cofactors contained in the formula
things to be aware of
Not as many servings as other brands

Vegan Iron Supplement Buyers Guide

vegan iron supplement buyers guide

What do we look for in a quality iron supplement for vegans?

How much iron do you get per serving, and how many servings per bottle?

We want to make sure there is less than 45mg per serving to avoid gastrointestinal issues [2]

Pay close attention to the amount of iron you are getting per serving. A great average range to aim for is around 8–15g per serving for adult men and 15-25mg per serving for adult women. 

The nutrition contents on the back of the bottle will tell you how much iron is absorbed per serving, and this is the only number you want to focus on. Some companies will state the overall iron content before absorption to make the numbers seem higher as a marketing tactic. Focus only on the nutritional contents on the back for clear data

For those with gastrointestinal issues, it is recommended to take iron supplements with a meal, but depending on the nutrients in the meal, they can lower absorption by 40-66% [3]. If this applies to you, this should be factored into the value of your purchase

When choosing a vegan iron supplement, it is wise to ensure the amount per serving does not exceed the upper intake limit of 45mg per day to avoid excess consumption. All of our top picks sit safely under the upper intake limit.

What form of iron is it?

Elemental Iron

  • The form typically found in supplements: Carbonyl iron
  • Good absorption rate
  • Absorbed slowly making it easier on the digestive system
  • Mid-price range
  • Lowest side effects [4]

Iron salts

There are two types of salts that you will find in iron supplements, ferrous iron and ferric iron. Ferrous iron is absorbed much better than ferric, so those are what we will focus on. 

Three main types of ferrous iron salts

  • Ferrous sulfate cheapest form medium amount of elemental iron 0.2mg elemental iron to every 1mg total iron
  • Ferrous fumarate most expensive highest amount of elemental iron 0.33mg elemental iron to every 1mg total iron
  • Ferrous gluconate ranges in price lowest amount of elemental iron 0.107 elemental iron to every 1mg total iron [5]
  • High absorption rates on all 3
  • Medium to low side effects in general but has a higher potential for stomach issues in comparison to iron bisglycinate or carbonyl iron.

Ferrous iron Complex

  • The form typically found in supplements: Iron chelate (iron bisglycinate)
  • High absorption rate
  • Harder for phytates and oxalates to bind to it so it will be easier to absorb overall
  • Easier on the digestive system then others making it suitable for those with sensitive stomachs
  • Low side effects
  • Mid to high price range

Capsule, tablet, or liquid?

The best value for money are sublingual tablets They dissolve in the mouth and get in the bloodstream quickly, slightly slower absorption than a spray or liquid, but you get better value for money with a sublingual lozenge since you get much more servings per bottle. 

Keep in mind. Some sublingual iron supplements can contain added sugar which may potentially cause stomach issues so make sure you’re not sensitive to these sugars before purchasing

Liquids and sprays are great options for those who want the quickest release of iron into their system. A great benefit of liquids and sprays is the ability to make them taste better with simple ingredients. The other advantage of a liquid or spray over a lozenge is that they have fewer ingredients overall, so you don’t usually have to worry about any unnecessary additives. 

The least popular but still effective option is gummies which are chewable forms of iron very similar to sweets and mainly used for younger adults or children (or for adults with a sweet tooth) The main downside to a gummy is that they tend to contain pectin and some people are sensitive to this so check with your healthcare professional before purchasing if you are unsure what your sensitive too or simply avoid iron supplements with pectin all together.

*Always make sure there is no gelatin used to form the chewable/gummy*. 

Cofactors

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is well documented for its ability to increase iron absorption [6]. Eating a vitamin high in vitamin C with an iron food during meals increases iron absorption and with supplements its no different

Look out for added vitamin C, which will sometimes be written as ascorbic acid on the back of supplements. This will provide a nice boost to your overall iron absorbability and add value to the whole product

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is another nutrient that boosts iron absorption [7] and one that would give any quality plant-based iron supplement added value by enhancing its absorbability

Look out for beta carotene on the back of supplements since our bodies convert beta carotene into vitamin A in the body

Things to be aware of

Calcium

Calcium has the potential to prevent iron absorption, so its recommended not to consume them at the same time for best iron absorbability results. [8]

Heme iron polypeptide

Animal sourced iron used in a variety of supplements

Yeast, Corn, Soy, and Gluten-free and other additives?

For those with allergies or a sensitive digestive system, you should avoid yeast corn gluten and sometimes soy.

The best vegan iron supplements will have minimal additives. What we are looking for is clean ingredients with a small ingredients list. Some companies may add extra ingredients to “fill” out their formula. Still, for anyone looking to keep their body as healthy as possible with little to no digestive issues, a minimal ingredient list is the way to go.

Some exceptions to this rule are if the company has created its own organic fruit and vegetable blend with nutrients that boost iron absorption like vitamin C and vitamin A.

Organic and Non-GMO 

It’s essential that any product chosen uses non-GMO organic ingredients to ensure the number of chemicals in your products are kept to a minimum. Be aware that if a product is Non-GMO but doesn’t state organic, it still may contain vegetables that had pesticides or herbicides used on them, so always look for the organic label in the ingredients.

Vegan label

Always lookout for a vegan label on the product to ensure that the supplement is vegan-friendly and doesn’t contain any animal products. The two main things vegans need to watch out for in this regard are Gelatin in the casing of the supplement and the source of iron. 

Its important that the form of iron used in the supplement is non-heme iron since heme iron is derived from animals. So it is crucial to pay attention to labeling to avoid any mishaps.

Value

  • How many servings do you get per bottle?
  • How much are you being charged per serving?
  • Always compare serving amounts to the overall price of the product and other similar products to make sure you are getting the best value for money.
  • Pay attention to is whether the company provides a return or guarantee with the purchase. When a company offers a way for you to return your product if you are not satisfied, which instills confidence in your purchase and the brand.

Do vegans need to take iron supplements?

Below are the main groups of vegans that are the most susceptible to iron issues.

Vegans who exercise a lot

Sweating, in general, causes iron to be lost through the pores. When exercising there is potential for a considerable amount of iron to be lost through sweat [9] that eventually needs to be replaced

Those who donate blood regularly.

Due to iron being mainly found in your red blood cells those who donate frequently put themselves at a higher risk for iron deficiency [10]

Those with anemia

Since anemia directly relates to a deficient amount of iron, those with anemia are the main group in need of iron supplementation [11]

Pregnant women

During pregnancy, women need a sufficient store of iron to maintain their iron levels while supporting a growing baby. There is potential to develop an iron deficiency if iron levels are not looked after[12].

Adult women 

Women, especially those who bleed a lot during menstruation, require more iron in their diet or through supplementation to balance out the iron lost through the blood [13]

Women who partake in regular exercise or are athletes

Multiple studies show that women in sport or who do fitness regularly are at a higher risk of deficiency due to the combination of iron loss through sweat and menstruation [14], [15]

Always consult your doctor first if you feel you have any significant iron issues.

Frequently asked questions

Want to learn more?

For a more in-depth look into the Vegan diet and getting iron without the consumption of meat, check out our ultimate vegan iron guide, and the best vegan sources of iron giving you all the knowledge, food tips, and research you need to help master iron on a vegan diet.

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