Low iron - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-30-2008, 09:12 AM
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Last night, when I went to donate blood I failed the "sink test" which confirms your iron level is high enough to donate blood.This has never happened to me before. When they put a sample of my blood into um...some kind of machine to see if it WAS high enough, my level was 12.5...the bare minimum to allow for donation. Had it of been 12.4, I would have been considered "too anemic to donate". Usually my blood sinks like a rock when I go to donate, so this was a huge suprise, though I should probably note that I was anemic as a younger teen because I ate very unhealthly, and really no meat, and because I am more prone to low iron levels. Having a carefully planned diet(although not completly veg until earlier this year) for the past year and a half or more. I am VERY concious of what I eat. I eat lots of whole grains and iron rich foods, but obviously I could be doing alot better. I suppose having non meat sources means that I am not metabolizing the iron as well.



So, suggestions on what I can bump up? I should be, from the nutritional values of the food I am eating, theoretically getting enough, even a little extra iron, but apparently this is not the case.



Also, interestingly, the woman ahead of me also failed her sink test. She is older, and has been a donor for a very long time. She informed me she is also vegetarian. She is a maraton runner, and very healthy, but says she has never passed the sink test, and has only once scored a 12.4(too low to donate), the rest of the time, her iron levels tested in the machine are very good, but not exteremely high. Of the 80 people who came through the clinic that night, we were 2 of the 3 people who failed the sink test (the other one was just a floating blob of blood, and I dont know who it came from,lol)



Any help you lovely VBers can give me about upping my iron levels would be greatly appreciated!
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#2 Old 07-30-2008, 09:21 AM
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"Good sources of dietary iron include red meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans, leaf vegetables, tofu, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, fortified bread and breakfast cereals. Iron in low amounts, is found in molasses, teff and farina. Iron in meat is more easily absorbed than iron in vegetables (haem iron), but heme/hemoglobin from red meat has effects which may increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer. The report on meat and cancer did not include all studies on meat and thus can be seen as biased.



Iron provided by dietary supplements is often found as iron (II) fumarate, although iron sulfate is cheaper and is absorbed equally well. Elemental iron, despite being absorbed to a much smaller extent (stomach acid is sufficient to convert some of it to ferrous iron), is often added to foods such as breakfast cereals or "enriched" wheat flour (where it is listed as "reduced iron" in the list of ingredients). Iron is most available to the body when chelated to amino acids - iron in this form is ten to fifteen times more bioavailable than any other, and is also available for use as a common iron supplement. Often the amino acid chosen for this purpose is the cheapest and most common amino acid, glycine, leading to "iron glycinate" supplements. The RDA for iron varies considerably based on age, gender, and source of dietary iron (heme-based iron has higher bioavailability). Infants may require iron supplements if they are not breast-fed.[citation needed] Blood donors are at special risk of low iron levels and are often advised to supplement their iron intake."



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron



good luck
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#3 Old 07-30-2008, 09:41 AM
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I failed that test once too. The lady told me to eat raisins..



edit: I failed because I had just stopped or was at the very end of my period. The lady also said that this can effect your iron levels somewhat
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#4 Old 07-30-2008, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstadt View Post

I failed that test once too. The lady told me to eat raisins..



edit: I failed because I had just stopped or was at the very end of my period. The lady also said that this can effect your iron levels somewhat



I hate raisins

I know they are just wrinkly grapes and such....but *shudders*, they are like a whole 'nother thing altogether.....



And that was not the case with my failure this time. However, in the past, when I passed the sink test, it has been under those circumstances...
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#5 Old 07-30-2008, 10:46 AM
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For me, iron rich means whole grains, eating things like hot cereals for breakfast, black beans and brown rice combos, eating dark green leafy veggies (shred kale and add some into everything! You won't taste it, promise), and having eggs handy for emergency dizzy spells.



ALSO note that when you do iron, having vitamin C stuff at the same time will help your body absorb it. AND note that having coffee with your egg with negate the egg's iron. Coffee will actually leech the iron from your system, so if you are anemic and/or trying to up your supply, go easy on the coffee. This may just be coffee, or may be all caffeinated beverages, not sure. Coffee is MY vice, I rarely touch soda.



Just after AF (aunt flo, period), for a girl can make a huge difference too. Drinking too much coffee during AF = low low levels afterward.



And iron builds up in your system over time. So it can take a full month of eating a lot of iron rich stuff to re-build your supply. If you are anemic NOW, look at what you've been eating for the last month or two, and there will likely be a connection.



Worst case, take a supplement as well. Just be careful about how much iron you are taking in, as it can constipate if you have too much. Just ask any mama who was good about her prenatals, LMAO.
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#6 Old 07-30-2008, 10:57 AM
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I donated blood two weeks ago. They didn't do the sink test, but a different test. They put my blood in a machine and the reading came out as 12.3 They tested it again a few minutes later and the reading was 12.9 The assistant who took my blood told me that the normal reading for a woman is 11.5 so you might have a normal reading, but it's not high enough to donate blood.



Good luck on donating the next time!
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#7 Old 07-30-2008, 11:08 AM
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The thing is, I eat lots of iron rich foods! As far as I know, and in the past month or so, I have probably eaten better than ever. My coffee consumption HAS upped though, but I only drink about the equivalent of 2 cups a day, 5 days a week, but I have since june...(which I havent donated since before then because of surgery....)But i know so many people pump themselvess full of coffee that my two cups should hardly count*justification *. I actually drinka lot of...im ashamed to say...coke zero. I am going to cut back, but I dont know how I am going to survive without caffeine!



I really, really want to avoid prepared vitamins at all costs. I am going to try amping up my green leafies(and beets!!we have fresh ones to pick from the garden..*is excited*), vitamin c high foods at lunch/supper (more iron rich meals of the day I beleive) and TRY to cut back on my coffee and coke. can anyone give me suggestions of what to use intead of coffee as a pick me up in the morning(preferably legal..lol)?I generally eat a full breakfast 2 grains/1 dairy/1 citrusy fruit/water but mornings are tough for me because I have DSPS, so not really my time of day (Which, on the positive side...seems to have improved by like 100x since going veggie, which I would have never thought!)



Thanks for the help, it is very VERY appreciated!
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#8 Old 07-30-2008, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barefootchick View Post

I donated blood two weeks ago. They didn't do the sink test, but a different test. They put my blood in a machine and the reading came out as 12.3 They tested it again a few minutes later and the reading was 12.9 The assistant who took my blood told me that the normal reading for a woman is 11.5 so you might have a normal reading, but it's not high enough to donate blood.



Good luck on donating the next time!



Yes, lol, its "low normal" but as a regular blood donor, it isn't where I would like to see it, especially since it has been so much better. Oh, and here, they do the sink test, and if you fail, they put your blood in the machine. Seems more accurate to just put it in the machine from the start,though.
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#9 Old 07-30-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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barefootchick, the ranges I've seen during my (many) blood tests always begins at 12 or 12.1. 11.5 would be a low reading for sure.



To the o.p.: if you're feeling alright, I wouldn't stress over it. Before you go to donate next time, you can eat some power-iron rich menus for a couple of days, and you'll probably be just fine.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#10 Old 07-30-2008, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamJen View Post

barefootchick, the ranges I've seen during my (many) blood tests always begins at 12 or 12.1. 11.5 would be a low reading for sure.



To the o.p.: if you're feeling alright, I wouldn't stress over it. Before you go to donate next time, you can eat some power-iron rich menus for a couple of days, and you'll probably be just fine.



Yup, I am feeling pretty good overall, but I tend to stress :P



I WAS able to donate this time, but I also know if I had of been lower by another .1 I would not have been able to. And, again, my iron is generally much better. I thinK I will definately be iron boosting before my sept. appointment,heh.
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#11 Old 07-30-2008, 08:06 PM
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try using an iron pan too, for your cooking...

and like beka said, combine your iron foods w/ vit. c for better absorption.
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#12 Old 07-31-2008, 06:31 AM
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Try eating your iron rich foods or take a supplement with some sort of citrus. The citric acid makes the iron absorb more easily.

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