A patient should feel the effects of iron pills between 1 week and 1 month after beginning treatment. However, building up the iron stores in the body may take 6 months or more.
To increase the iron's absorption into the body, take iron pills with orange juice or vitamin C pills. While the absorption rate is faster if iron pills are taken on an empty stomach, many people take the pills with a meal to avoid stomach upset.
In addition to iron pills, an individual should enjoy iron-rich foods, such as beef liver, brown rice, kidney beans, oysters, peanut butter, tofu and whole wheat bread.
Use cast iron skillets for cooking. Iron is absorbed from the pan into the food, especially acidic foods such as tomato sauce, increasing the amount of iron absorbed into the body.