Our purpose was to compare the absorption of iron bisglycinate and ferrous calcium citrate in volunteers using an oral iron tolerance test. Twenty volunteers, 10 healthy controls and 10 with stable Crohn's disease, agreed to participate in the study. All were given 50 mg of elemental iron as iron bisglycinate or ferrous calcium citrate. Serum iron levels were monitored for 4 hr. After a week, each received the other regimen. Using the area under the curve as indicator, the oral iron absorption test revealed that absorption of iron post-ingestion of ferrous calcium citrate was better than after ingestion of iron bisglycinate for the group as a whole (P < 0.03). Volunteers with Crohn's disease absorbed ferrous calcium citrate better than iron bisglycinate (P=0.005). No difference was noted in the absorption of either preparation by healthy volunteers. Ferrus calcium citrate is apparently more effective than iron bisglycinate in patients with Crohn's disease.