Medical Treatments

ConsumerLab Finds Huge Fluctuation in Price of Iron Supplements

| by ConsumerLab


WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — MARCH 28, 2011 — announced today that the cost to get an equivalent dose of iron from supplements varies by more than 100-fold. A 25 mg dose of iron can cost as little as two cents or over two dollars, depending on the product. In addition to the cost analysis, conducted laboratory tests and label reviews on iron supplements.

In contrast to’s 2008 report on iron supplements -- in which 20% of selected supplements failed to meet quality standards -- all products in the current review contained their listed amounts of iron and did not exceed contamination limits for lead. However, one product violated FDA labeling requirements by displaying a heart symbol on its label, representing an unapproved health claim.

Iron is required to prevent and treat anemia. Iron deficiency is most common in menstruating women but also is commonly seen in children, pregnant women, and among people taking drugs that reduce stomach acid. Even mild iron deficiency may cause fatigue and impair learning, memory, and sports performance. Individual needs for supplemental iron vary and different forms may be better tolerated than others. According to Nutrition Business Journal, sales of iron supplements in the U.S. have grown steadily and reached $302 million in 2009, up 10% from the prior year.

“It is great that all of the iron supplements in this review were found to be of high quality, but people using iron supplements must choose carefully to be sure they are getting the right form, the right dose, and are not spending more money than necessary,” said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of 

The new report is available at The report includes results for sixteen products made with a variety of forms of iron, including carbonyl iron, ferrous bisglycinate, ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous sulfate, as well as heme iron polypeptide, iron protein succinylate, polysaccharide iron complex, and plant-based iron. Dosage forms include: regular capsule, vegan capsule, liquid, time-release tablet, and plain tablet. Six of the products listed were tested at the request of their manufacturers or distributors through's Voluntary Certification Program. An additional product is listed in the report that is similar to one that passed testing but sold under a different brand name. The report provides extensive information on how and when to use iron supplements and differences among the forms of iron.

Products included in the report are: 21st Century Iron, Bifera, Fergon, Ferro-Sequels, Floradix Iron+Herbs, Garden of Life Raw Iron, Life Extension Iron Plus, Nature Made Iron, Nature’s Bounty Gentle Iron, Nutrilite tri-iron folic, Ortho Molecular Products Reacted Iron, Slow Fe, Solgar Gentle Iron, Thompson Ideal Iron, Vitamin Shoppe Minerals Comfort Iron, Vitamin World Gentle Iron, and Walgreens Slow Release Iron. is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Subscription to is available online. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. is affiliated with, which helps consumers evaluate online pharmacies and drug prices, and, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans.