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Iron increase ideas?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
As some of you know, I've been struggling with anaemia (and it's side effects) this year.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88095

I just got the results of follow-up blood tests and even though I've been taking daily iron supplements, my haemoglobin hasn't changed at all since August and my Ferritin has gone down!!

The results are right on the bottom limit of the normal scale so my doctor wants me to keep taking the iron supplements Now I'll spare you the gorey details but any of you women out there who've ever taken iron supplements before, it's really not that pleasant (and I've been taking them now for 6 months)

Anyone got any other great ideas for how to increase iron intake / absorption?
post #2 of 25
Oh I'm sorry to hear that, yes I have been on the iron pills and it is not pleasant.

Good foods to eat are red meat, liver, raisins, egg yolk, spinach, and broccoli, they are all rich in iron. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, so make sure that you also eat plenty of fruit (green bell peppers are particularly high in Vit C) or take a supplement.

Peptic ulcers can cause anaemia, has this been checked out?

I hope you don't have to carry on with the pills for too much longer - yuk. It does usually take around 3 to 4 months for the pills to start making a difference, I am sorry that it has not helped yet. Anaemia is horrible, I was quite bad with it and felt so tired and really depressed.
post #3 of 25


The best way - that I find - to get Iron in quickly is by drinking Guinness (in moderation, obviously!) My Mum was recommended it when she was pregnant with me and it helped her a lot!

Taking vitamin C is supposed to help too!

I have read that tannin inhibits absorption, so cutting out things like tea might help!
post #4 of 25
Have you ever had a colonoscopy? Certain things with the colon can cause anemia/low iron.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Good foods to eat are red meat, liver, raisins, egg yolk, spinach, and broccoli, they are all rich in iron.
Thanks for this. I keep a good balanced diet with most of the things you mentioned, although there's NO WAY I'm doing the liver . My doctor told me I'd have to eat a mountain of spinach before it would help, but I do eat it anyway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, so make sure that you also eat plenty of fruit (green bell peppers are particularly high in Vit C) or take a supplement.
I've been taking a 1000mg Vit C supplement daily to help the absorption - you'd think that would do it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Peptic ulcers can cause anaemia, has this been checked out?
I didn't know that. We checked for a lot of things, but not ulcers. I'm going to look up other symptoms on the net and see what it gives me.

Thanks for all the ideas
post #6 of 25
To be quite honest I think if you had an ulcer you would know there was something wrong and have sought medical advice for it already as it can be very painful. But the other suggestion for a colonoscopy is a good one, anything not 100% with the digestive system can really affect the amount of nutrients and minerals you absorb. I would think that irritable bowel syndrome or something like that would cause problems of that nature, as well as colitis or other colon problems.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar View Post

The best way - that I find - to get Iron in quickly is by drinking Guinness (in moderation, obviously!)
Well that should be easy for an Irish woman Actually I'd forgotten all about that - I think they still give it to pregnant women in Irish hospitals. I do quite like it so maybe when I leave Switzerland and don't have to pay £4 a pint for it I'll be able to have more

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar View Post
I have read that tannin inhibits absorption, so cutting out things like tea might help!
I didn't know that. I only drink 1 cup a day though... I also heard that cinammon inhibits absorption so I've been trying to avoid all the yummy vin chaud at the Christmas market

Thanks for the ideas Sarah. Appreciate it
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
The colonoscopy sounds delightful
post #9 of 25
My husband was anemic, and since that is not normal for a man in his 30's, they did a colonoscopy, and gastrophy (sp). They did find a small problem where ibuprofen was eating a hole in his stomach He has stopped the ibuprofen, and hasn't had a problem since. Apparently ibuprofen is a common cause.
post #10 of 25
Boy, I do know how it is. I've really been struggling too. Other things I've seen mentioned are - calcium can inhibit absorbtion, and stomach acid HELPS absorbtion. So taking too many antacids could be detrimental. I'm sure you also know that heme (meat) iron is absorbed much easier than other forms of iron. And of course you know that vitamin C helps absorption. I think I've also read that having a full stomach inhibits absorption, but of course that's difficult because the iron itself is hard on your stomach. Aarrrgh!

It sounds like you're getting enough - just not absorbing it. I'm going in for an upper GI tomorrow to see if there's internal bleeding since mine has been going on for a year.

But I'm sure you know it's nice to know that you're not crazy - I thought I was when I was so tired and depressed for so long. I hope you feel better soon!

PS - I'm going to check into the Guiness!!
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexa View Post
Well that should be easy for an Irish woman Actually I'd forgotten all about that - I think they still give it to pregnant women in Irish hospitals. I do quite like it so maybe when I leave Switzerland and don't have to pay £4 a pint for it I'll be able to have more
£4 a pint! I definitely think you should wait to get back to the UK to get onto the Guinness side of things! Yeah, they do still give it to pregnant women - in Liverpool and the Wirral too! Maybe that's where I got a taste for the stuff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexa
I didn't know that. I only drink 1 cup a day though... I also heard that cinammon inhibits absorption so I've been trying to avoid all the yummy vin chaud at the Christmas market

Thanks for the ideas Sarah. Appreciate it
I'm not sure how long the tannin stays in your system, but I wouldn't have thought that only one cup would be too bad!

That's terrible about cinnamon - especially with the Markets on!

If I can think of anything else for you, I'll let you know!
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
Boy, I do know how it is. I've really been struggling too. I'm going in for an upper GI tomorrow to see if there's internal bleeding since mine has been going on for a year.
for you. I hope everything goes smoothly for you tomorrow.
post #13 of 25
I've been struggling with low iron levels myself for almost two years now, I guess. I'm not technically anemic (most of the time) but my low iron levels lead to an increase in my platelets (i.e. higher risk of blood clots). So far, what seems to be working for me is Fergon iron supplements (haven't had any bad reactions to them so far at all), trying to take vitamin C when I take my supplement, and cutting out most of the caffeine and tea from my diet (which is the hardest part!). If I think about it, I also try not to take it with milk/dairy etc because calcium does inhibit iron absorbtion. Also, if you like Frosted Mini-wheats, I found out one serving of that has 95% of your RDI of iron, and they're much tastier than liver and easier to eat all the time than spinach, plus its actually higher in iron than spinach is. Snacking on things like nuts is good too.

Best of luck, I found myself just slightly anemic a few weeks ago and it was awful - too tired to get anything done! I don't know what iron supplements you're taking, but these Fergon pills seem to be doing the trick really well for me - just a week and a half or so of taking them and I could definately feel my energy levels go up, and my platelet levels had gone down a good bit after a month of being regularly on them again. Plus, like I said, I have yet to really experience any bad side effects from them. The worst part is just remembering to take them with meals, though I'm getting better at remembering to do that again. Again, good luck and vibes/prayers coming your way!
post #14 of 25
Im on iron supplements now too. Just curious but what is nasty about them? I just started taking Fergon and havnt seen any difference. Or is it just around that time of the month? Which I wont have to worry about.
post #15 of 25
I have been Anemic most of my life. I always have low energy and would sleep 24/7 if I could. A few years ago my doctor suggested that I go on birth control to limit the amount of blood I loose per month I went on Depo-Provera which is an injection you get every 3 months. It has helped so much, I still take a supliment but since I'm not loosing all the blood that is absorbing the iron my levels have been good.
post #16 of 25
I've heard using cast iron pans when you cook increases your iron. (I use them). Quite a few fortified cereals have iron in them. I think that's how my kids get most of their iron since we're vegetarians and they won't eat spinach--suprise, suprise.

I agree with Kluchetta about the absorption issue, and would guess your doctor will order more tests if it doesn't go up soon. Although where your level is in the normal range--just low normal, it might not be too much of a problem if you're feeling better. (Sounds like a case for House--I love that show, and he always solves the problem eventually, although health insurance certainly doesn't seem to be an issue on that show since they order every expensive test there is)
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4crazycats View Post
Im on iron supplements now too. Just curious but what is nasty about them? I just started taking Fergon and havnt seen any difference. Or is it just around that time of the month? Which I wont have to worry about.
I think the problem is constipation!

Oh - and I just remembered - 3/4 cup of Total cereal has 100% of your iron and only 100 calories! (although, like I said before, it's not heme iron.)
post #18 of 25
I HAD a real problem with anemia once upon a time. Iron supplements alone didnt fix the problem. Eating more meat etc didnt fix the problem. Good news though: Something did. I started taking a B12 megadose every day. B12 aka cobalamin is critical for the production of red blood cells, and B12 deficiency (or a deficiency in B12 absorption) alone will lead to serious anemia. Some people absorbe B12 with a lot more difficulty than others (for example, Intrinsic Factor is needed to transport B12 across intestinal wall, so less IF means less B12 absorption), so despite adequate levels being present in diet, it might not be absorbed into the body. An average person needs to intake about 2mcg (.002mg) a day. I take a 1000mcg supplement, hence the term megadose. Usually multivitamins will include B12, but I didnt see improvement or the correction of my anemia until I started taking 500mcg/day (vs dramatically low levels in multivitamin)......
post #19 of 25
I've been struggling with anemia myself.

Things that will get your iron levels up:

First you need to take an iron supplement:

Iron Pills - 2 per day.
Stool Softener - to prevent constipation from the iron pills.
NB: Your poops will be black. That is normal when taking iron pills.

You also need to increase your daily intake of iron rich foods:

- spinach
- red meats (especial organ meats like Liver)
- raisins (add them to your salads, eat them as a snack, put them in rice or in your cooking or cereals)
- soy beans


Here is a link to a list of foods that contain sources of iron.

http://www.hoptechno.com/bookfoodsourceFE.htm
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
I think the problem is constipation!

Oh - and I just remembered - 3/4 cup of Total cereal has 100% of your iron and only 100 calories! (although, like I said before, it's not heme iron.)
Oh ok. Thanks
post #21 of 25
Here's a site with lots of information on increasing iron in your diet, including using cast iron pans, like Snuzy said.

http://www.vegfamily.com/health/boost-iron-intake.htm

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
Here's a site with lots of information on increasing iron in your diet, including using cast iron pans, like Snuzy said.

http://www.vegfamily.com/health/boost-iron-intake.htm

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
Cool Ill have to look into that myself. I use cast iron pans all the time.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4crazycats View Post
Cool Ill have to look into that myself. I use cast iron pans all the time.
I just want to say that it's so nice to feel not alone in this. Everyone I talk to just gives me a blank look. "So...you're anemic...whatever." I know we share our cats & stuff, but it's nice to connect about other things too.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
I just want to say that it's so nice to feel not alone in this. Everyone I talk to just gives me a blank look. "So...you're anemic...whatever." I know we share our cats & stuff, but it's nice to connect about other things too.
Yeah its always nice coming on here. Everyone on here has either had or dealt with everything Ive had so far. And its nice to know Im not the only one and get advice on things to do.
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Lots of great ideas here

I didn't know about B12 and the cast iron pots are an interesting one!

Thanks for sharing everyone
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