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Iron Issues: Causes, Diet, Constipation

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 Posted 7/24/2013 6:30:11 PM
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Are there problems other bleeding that cause iron deficiency? My ferritin has been low for years (range 8 to 38). Since I'm a woman I thought heaving bleeding was the cause, but I'm hardly bleeding now and it's still pretty low.

I've tried boosting iron with diet: a little red meat, beans + vitamin C. This doesn't help that much.

I've tried multiple iron products, including Slow Fe, but constipation is terrible (+ hemorrhoids), even if I only take it twice a week. I envy men who can donate blood to fix their ferritin.

Ideas? Suggestions?

Thanks,
Elaine



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 Posted 7/24/2013 6:54:16 PM
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Please don't suggest I eat a high-fiber diet. I'm living proof that you can eat tons of fiber and still be constipated. Smile
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 Posted 7/24/2013 7:41:05 PM
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Stomach acid is required for iron absorption...  If you're taking an acid blocker/PPI or antacid meds this will shut down iron absorption.  This is why vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) increases iron absorption.   Vitamin-C dissolves iron to a state where it is more easily absorbed.  

If you're a big coffee or tea drinker, these block iron absorption if you drink these with meals.  Calcium and magnesium supplements neutralize stomach acid and also will block iron absorption.  Foods high in phytates (oats, corn, whole grains, and brown rice) will bind dietary iron and prevent it from being utilized too. 

Careful what you wish for...  As long as you're not seriously anemic, moderately low iron is much healthier than high iron!  Studies with fruit flies show iron restriction works just as well as calorie restriction to extend longevity, and more studies with higher animals are pending.  Some believe the human female's relatively low iron status (compared to men) is the primary reason they tend to live longer (4 years on average).  

There's a great read on iron here: http://www.acu-cell.com/femn.html





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Eliminate all other factors and the one that remains must be the truth (Sherlock Holmes)
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 Posted 7/25/2013 7:36:15 AM
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Synesthsia - Great points! 

Zork - Is your doctor concerned about your ferritin levels?

MaylinR
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 Posted 7/30/2013 3:36:33 PM
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Synesthsia: I avoid antacids, don't drink coffee or tea. When I take iron tablets, it's on an empty stomach, usually with a little fruit juice for the vitamin C. However, the cal/mag and whole grains I eat might keep me from absorbing iron in my food. I'll have to ponder this.

MaylinR: My endocrinologist likes to see ferritin over 40.

Thanks!
Elaine
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 Posted 7/31/2013 5:13:52 AM
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My wife has similar issues and it appears that MTHF helped fix her problem, but she is due for a followup test to see if it is still good. Before taking MTHF her level varied between 21-38 over the past several years, but the last time it was tested it had gone up to 98. It went from 33 to 98 in a 2 month period after starting MTHF. Before taking MTHF her serum iron would often be very high while at the same time ferritin was very low, eg serum iron 179 with ferritin 21.
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 Posted 8/22/2013 6:31:34 PM
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Calc: How much L-methylfolate did she have to take? I take 2400 mcg per day (in 3 doses), but I could easily be one of those people who needs megadoses. Heart disease and depression run in the family.

My doctor prescribed Deplin (15 mg L-methlfolate) for depression years ago and it was helpful. I've considered taking it again, but I don't want to take 15 capsules and my current doctor is conservative (Kaiser), so I don't know if she's prescribe it. I wish I could find it OTC in bigger doses or powder.

Is there a blood test that can tell me if I need more folate? My last homocysteine was 7.3 and I take 2.5 mg sublinqual B-12.

Thanks!
Elaine
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 Posted 9/18/2013 12:46:40 AM
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Conventional iron drugs and supplements are poorly absorbed because they're not bioavailable.  What you want is Albion's true chelated iron called Ferrochel http://www.albionferrochel.com  You can get it cheaply from Swanson.

And you should take Betaine HCL to stomach tolerance to make sure you're absorbing all minerals and preventing gastrointestinal infections from taking root.

Zork (7/24/2013)
Are there problems other bleeding that cause iron deficiency? My ferritin has been low for years (range 8 to 38). Since I'm a woman I thought heaving bleeding was the cause, but I'm hardly bleeding now and it's still pretty low.

I've tried boosting iron with diet: a little red meat, beans + vitamin C. This doesn't help that much.

I've tried multiple iron products, including Slow Fe, but constipation is terrible (+ hemorrhoids), even if I only take it twice a week. I envy men who can donate blood to fix their ferritin.

Ideas? Suggestions?

Thanks,
Elaine

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 Posted 10/1/2013 9:08:27 AM
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MachineGhost: Ferrochel is great. I like Advanced Ferrochel, because it has vitamin C to aid absorption. Unfortunately, it does not prevent constipation, though it should bring iron levels up faster.

I was delighted by the recent LEF article on immediate relief from constipation:
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2013/oct2013_Immediate-Relief_01.htm

I've always known there was more to this problem than fiber. I take lots of magnesium. Triphala (Ayurvedic herb) has also helped. Daily progesterone so I'm bleeding less helps. These 3 are enough to get me off Miralax when I'm not taking iron. I'm waiting on blood tests to see if I need to take it again.

Triphala is a little known herb that also helped a friend with IBS. After 6 weeks on 1000 mg with a glass of water at bedtime, she went from daily diarrhea to occasional.

Elaine


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 Posted 10/1/2013 9:16:36 AM
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Regarding your magnesium supplements, have you tried Life Extension's Magnesium Citrate http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/Item01682/Magnesium-Citrate.html   This product can often help "get things going."

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