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Bad bloodwork results... looking for ways to help my iron

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  • Bad bloodwork results... looking for ways to help my iron

    I had blood done last week, cholesterol is fan-frickin-tastic (159, 87 HDL, 42 Trig; 1.8 ratio - thanks, Primal!) but my red blood is pretty bad. Low red blood cell count, hematocrit, hemoglobin; and upper range on mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hgb.

    I'm looking for suggestions on what type of supplement to take to fix these numbers. I eat a lot of red meat and chicken, salmon and shrimp weekly, tons of green vegetables, so I'm kind of surprised it's so low. I absolutely cannot eat liver or any other organ, so that's not an option.

    When I was pregnant 10 yrs ago I had to take iron and OMG, it was a killer on my poor stomach. Is this just the rule with iron or is there a version that's more friendly? I'm looking at a chelated ferrochel (Swanson) that claims it's not so brutal, but I'm interested in what others have done.

    BTW, I currently take a super B complex with C, magnesium, D, calcium, turmeric and iodine.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  • #2
    I take ferrous gluconate, which, as I understand, is less potent than some iron pills. I am currently taking 2 300g pills at supper time, and my stomach handles them fine. I am building up my iron less quickly than the other pills, but it is slowly getting there.

    Another thing to watch is not to drink tea with any iron rich meal but instead to have some vitamin c with it. Tannins in tea impair iron absorption and vitamin c enhances it. They both make pretty dramatic differences to how well you absorb. Tea blocked 60% of iron, and vitamin c increased absorption by 250% or so. Well worth looking at.
    Last edited by JKC; 08-04-2011, 08:14 AM. Reason: added second paragraph
    Karin

    A joyful heart is good medicine

    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

    Mmmmm. Real food is good.

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

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    • #3
      Dang, I was going to suggest liver :-). Also, you might want to figure out why your iron is low. When mine was low from too-frequent blood donation a couple years ago, my doc ordered a stool sample, just to be safe.

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      • #4
        If you have heavy periods, that is more than enough to cause low iron. It is far more common in women than men.
        Karin

        A joyful heart is good medicine

        He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

        Mmmmm. Real food is good.

        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Cook with a cast iron skillet?

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          • #6
            Thanks for the input!

            Karin, I constantly drink iced green tea - I wonder if that's affecting my overall iron absorption from food. Very interesting. Re: periods - they are light and last only 2-3 days, so I doubt that is a factor. I'm going to investigate your supplement.

            Yodie, I'll try supplementation and if it isn't improved in a year, I'll ask for more tests. My insurance is a total POS, so I'm hesitant to dig deeper before trying to remedy on my own.

            Edit: Slim, I use cast iron for everything, so God only knows what it would be without that!

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            • #7
              Yeah - the tea could be it. I love tea - but I am limiting it to between meals now.
              Karin

              A joyful heart is good medicine

              He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

              Mmmmm. Real food is good.

              My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Do you eat spinach as one of your main carb sources? I've read that spinach provides adequate levels of iron in your nutrition. You could also step up your red meat consumption. Try incorperating more food based iron sources before you take supplements. Its a lot safer to retrieve your iron levels from food instead of supplements, as you risk over consuming iron in supplement form, which will result in more problems.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SlimIcy View Post
                  Cook with a cast iron skillet?
                  +1. My wife gave away her cast iron skillet to a friend that suddenly no longer has iron deficiencies. (Said friend couldn't abide the taste of spinach, or something).

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                  • #10
                    Can you take things like liver pills rather then eat organs??
                    Erin
                    Daily Vlogs
                    Primal Pets Blog

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                    • #11
                      Karin, that sucks. Sucks.

                      Erin, I don't know of such a thing.... have you used them? I'm not allergic or anything, its just the taste/texture that makes me want to die. I'm just looking for something that won't kill my stomach!

                      Achilles, I don't eat much spinach. Although I looked up the iron rich foods and saw that I'd need 20 cups of spinach to meet the RDA for iron! I'm going to try to up my red meat, but given the amount I eat now... I'm thinking the food-only ship has sailed.

                      I know I'm being a whiner, but I feel like if I fix the anemia some of my other issues will resolve.

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                      • #12
                        Sally Fallon recommends for those who don't like liver freezing it into small 'pill' size pieces, and swallowing a couple pieces each day real quick with water. The next step beyond that is to take freeze dried liver in true pill form. I think she recommends Carlson brand

                        Buffalo Liver at Carlson Labs

                        I don't know how well it goes as an 'iron' supplement, but its got to be better on your stomach then an iron pill, and I would guess more readily absorbed by the body.

                        Bit of discussion on paleohacks...some folks talk about making the frozen liver pill pieces to take each day
                        Is swallowing home-made beef liver "pills" a brilliant hack or a silly idea? - Paleo Hacks.com

                        Random side note, I seem to recall if you eat liver on a regular basis you need to be careful and cut back or not take cod liver oil (vit A overdose maybe?). Just a note.
                        Erin
                        Daily Vlogs
                        Primal Pets Blog

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                        • #13
                          Yeah - it would be vit A overdose. Another thing to look at is copper. Iron needs copper in order to build up properly (I forget the right scientific word, but if you are low in copper, taking iron will not increase your iron). Liver is an excellent source of copper too, unsurprisingly.
                          Karin

                          A joyful heart is good medicine

                          He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

                          Mmmmm. Real food is good.

                          My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hmm, I *may* be able to freeze it and throw it down like a pill. I agree with the guy on the one link, meat is not supposed to be creamy.

                            Karin, didn't know that about copper.... off to check what other foods contain copper

                            Thank you all so much.

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                            • #15
                              Hello,

                              Have you considered parasites, most notably tapeworm? They are known to rob the body of its iron and B12, along many other nutrients. Just a thought as I'm battling this myself .
                              http://modernpaleowoman.blogspot.com
                              where a modern mom re-discovers the paleo way of eating so as to balance mind, body, & spirit

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