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  • Anemic!! Help!

    I got a call from my doc earlier; she wanted to give me my bloodwork results. Cholesterol is great (179) LDL and HDL where they "should" be, triglycerides a fantastic 74. But I am anemic! How can this be? I eat red meat a few times a week, as well as turkey and chicken. I love tuna, sardines, salmon. I eat eggs and spinach daily (spinach almost daily). What else can I do? She is prescribing supplements, but I'd prefer to get more iron naturally. I can't really up any of my intake much more; I just can't eat that much food! Or is there something I am taking in that is robbing me of iron? I eat as primally as possible; no sugars (except dark chocolate, 1 to 2 squares daily), no flour, no grains at all. I drink only water (wine or the occasional cocktail on Friday evenings sometimes; not too often anymore). I haven't had milk in a long time, though I sometimes have cheese. Not daily; well, a bit of feta on my morning spinach but it's barely anything. Not even one full ounce.

    Any suggestions??
    Starting weight: 168 lbs
    Current weight: 168 lbs
    Goal weight: whatever makes me look strong and healthy!

    Current goal: No More Muffin Top!!
    a real pushup, a real pull-up, weekly sprints

    Visit my journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread76206.htmlKris' Place for Primal Rantings...because everyone else thinks she's nuts

  • #2
    You can cook with a cast iron skillet, and take Vitamin C supplements to boost iron absorption. If your levels are low enough, however, you'll probably need supps for a while.
    * Pixy's Quest for Regaining Health *
    Trying to gain weight, clear scarring acne, and fix thyroid and digestive issues with primal lifestyle- here goes something!

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    • #3
      I'd go ahead and take the supps. They are over the counter, not prescription, right? When I was anemic due to fibroids/extremely heavy bleeding they really helped a lot. You will feel less fatigued and depressed.

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      • #4
        +1.

        the supplements helped me. Not as much as the blessed hysterectomy, but they definitely made a difference.

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        • #5
          Do you have any symptoms of anemia, or did your bloodwork just come out in the lower range? If you feel great, is it really a number that needs to be raised? I'm asking, bec. I've heard different ideas about excess iron being bad for you.

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          • #6
            if you have been anemic for a long time, you may want to check with your doctor to see if your absorbing iron or not. some people do not absorb the iron and overload their bodies with excess iron that never gets used/absorbed and from what i have seen this can be potentially harmful. i personally worry about this so if you have the money for doctors appointments i say check it out
            Get on my Level
            http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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            • #7
              I know this is a stupid question, but are you a frequent blood donor? I made myself anemic by donating too often. I took iron pills (ferrous sulfate I think) for a few weeks and everything went back to normal. I never noticed any fatigue or anything, but my ferritin was totally depleted. I'd second (third?) taking the supplements. My doc also did a fecal occult blood test (stool sample) to make sure I wasn't losing blood that way just to be on the safe side.

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              • #8
                What kind of anemia? There are many different ways that anemia manifests in blood tests. I was diagnosed with microcytic anemia a few months ago, which means that I had enough red blood cells but each cell was unusually small. I have been steadily improving that, using Floradix early on, but now just by cooking my breakfast (bacon, onions, and acidic tomatoes) in cast iron pan every morning. The acid part is important because it helps to leach the iron out of the pan.

                My anemia was caused by 10 years of increasingly heavy periods. The increase happened so gradually I hadn't realized it was abnormal until a friend was diagnosed with heavy periods, despite hers being lighter than mine. Quitting dairy has completely fixed my heavy periods, btw.
                Liz.

                Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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                • #9
                  Oh, and one more thought...do you have a previous test to compare against?
                  Liz.

                  Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                  Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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                  • #10
                    That's a good thought, Mal. I think celiac/gluten intolerance can impair iron absorption, and I'll add it to my list of past problems likely caused by it. I view everything with 20-20 hindsight these days. Found this article:

                    Iron Deficiency Anemia and Gluten Intolerance - The Gluten Doctor - Everyday Health Blogs

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                    • #11
                      The only maybe-faintly-relevant food thing you don't mention, Kris, is nuts and seeds. Some contain lots of phytic acid, which wouldn't help. But what other people are saying about non-dietary causes of anaemia sounds more important.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the input! I had tested anemic before while pregnant. And I do have heavy periods, have since they began at age 11 (I ma now 38). I will be having and endometrial ablation after our upcoming move to hopefully stop the madness. (It's awful to have to miss out on life due to pain and extreme bleeding. It's caused me to miss work in the past and miss life currently.)

                        I don't take in a lot of dairy, never really have except the milk I used to put in the cereal I used to eat. I heard from a cousin who said she's always been anemic and it could just be a natural thing. And I have a veggie friend who is also naturally anemic but doesn't worry much because of how she feels. I will be taking my iron supplements (prescribed, ferrous sulfate I believe) and continuing on. I have an upcoming blood test which I think might have something to do with checking B-12 as well.

                        I feel great, better than ever since I began eating Primally. My energy is up, no fatigue at all unlike how I felt with my old SAD. I think I will see if the supplements change anything. If not, I will accept I am naturally this way and continue on with my life. I am going to research now about what being chronically iron deficient means and its potential problems in the future.

                        Thanks again for all the replies and advice!
                        Starting weight: 168 lbs
                        Current weight: 168 lbs
                        Goal weight: whatever makes me look strong and healthy!

                        Current goal: No More Muffin Top!!
                        a real pushup, a real pull-up, weekly sprints

                        Visit my journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread76206.htmlKris' Place for Primal Rantings...because everyone else thinks she's nuts

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