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Ferrous Sulphate vs. Folic Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 25, 2024
Ferrous sulphate is an iron supplement, while folic acid is a form of vitamin B9.

Key Differences

Ferrous sulphate is a mineral supplement used to treat or prevent low blood levels of iron, often seen in conditions like anemia. Folic acid, on the other hand, is a vitamin, specifically Vitamin B9, essential for DNA synthesis and repair.
Ferrous sulphate primarily addresses iron deficiencies and boosts hemoglobin levels, while folic acid is crucial for preventing neural tube defects in pregnancy and supporting overall cell growth.
The side effects of ferrous sulphate can include gastrointestinal discomfort and constipation, whereas folic acid is usually well-tolerated but may mask symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Ferrous sulphate is absorbed better on an empty stomach, but it may cause stomach upset, leading to its recommendation with food. Folic acid absorption is not significantly affected by food.
Ferrous sulphate supplements are often prescribed for people with anemia due to iron deficiency. Folic acid is recommended for pregnant women and those planning to conceive, to prevent birth defects.

Comparison Chart


Iron Supplement
Vitamin B9

Primary Use

Treats iron-deficiency anemia
Prevents neural tube defects, supports cell growth

Common Side Effects

Gastrointestinal discomfort
May mask B12 deficiency


Better on an empty stomach
Not affected by food

Target Group

Individuals with iron deficiency
Pregnant women, those planning pregnancy

Ferrous Sulphate and Folic Acid Definitions

Ferrous Sulphate

A form of iron that assists in hemoglobin production.
Her hemoglobin levels improved after taking ferrous sulphate for a month.

Folic Acid

Used to prevent and treat low blood levels of folate, reducing the risk of certain birth defects.
Regular intake of folic acid can prevent spina bifida in newborns.

Ferrous Sulphate

An iron salt also used in the fortification of foods.
Ferrous sulphate is added to some cereals to increase their iron content.

Folic Acid

Assists in the conversion of food into energy and helps maintain healthy skin and eyes.
Including folic acid in her diet helped improve her skin's health.

Ferrous Sulphate

An iron supplement used in gardening to green up lawns and plants.
He applied ferrous sulphate to his lawn to make the grass greener.

Folic Acid

A synthetic form of vitamin B9 used in supplements and fortified foods.
She took folic acid during her pregnancy as recommended by her doctor.

Ferrous Sulphate

A compound used as a dietary supplement to treat iron deficiency.
The doctor prescribed ferrous sulphate to address her anemia.

Folic Acid

Essential for proper brain function and plays a vital role in mental and emotional health.
Folic acid supplements helped improve her overall mood and cognitive function.

Ferrous Sulphate

A medication that replenishes iron stores in the body.
After donating blood, he took ferrous sulphate to restore his iron levels.

Folic Acid

Crucial for the production and maintenance of new cells, especially during pregnancy.
The prenatal vitamins contain folic acid for cell growth in the fetus.


What is ferrous sulphate used for?

It's used to treat iron-deficiency anemia.

What is folic acid important for?

Cell growth and preventing neural defects.

Can ferrous sulphate cause side effects?

Yes, like stomach upset.

Is folic acid necessary during pregnancy?

Yes, to prevent birth defects.

Should ferrous sulphate be taken with food?

It's better absorbed on an empty stomach but can be taken with food to reduce stomach upset.

Does folic acid help with hair growth?

It can, as it's vital for cell growth.

How quickly does ferrous sulphate work?

Improvement in anemia symptoms can be seen in a few weeks.

Is ferrous sulphate safe for everyone?

It should be taken under medical advice, especially by those with certain health conditions.

Can ferrous sulphate interact with other medications?

Yes, it can interact with certain medications.

Is excess folic acid harmful?

High doses can have adverse effects and should be avoided.

How does folic acid benefit the heart?

It helps reduce homocysteine levels, a heart disease risk factor.

Can children take folic acid?

Yes, in age-appropriate doses.

Can folic acid prevent cancer?

Some research suggests it may lower certain cancer risks.

Can folic acid be taken daily?

Yes, as part of a balanced diet or as prescribed.

What foods are high in ferrous sulphate?

It's not naturally in foods but added to fortified foods.

Is folic acid found naturally in food?

Yes, in leafy greens, beans, and citrus fruits.

How is ferrous sulphate dosage determined?

Based on the individual's iron levels and health condition.

Why is vitamin C recommended with ferrous sulphate?

Vitamin C enhances iron absorption.

Does folic acid have a role in pregnancy aside from preventing defects?

Yes, it supports the mother's and baby's health overall.

Is there a natural alternative to ferrous sulphate?

Iron-rich foods like spinach and red meat are natural alternatives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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